By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federation of the International Football Association (FIFA) has cancelled the men’s U-20 and U-17 World Cup tournaments in 2021 due to the novel coronavirus.
The football body noted in a statement that it had carried out the decision because COVID-19 continues to prove a huge challenge to the organisation of the biennial events.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to cancel the 2021 editions of the men’s FIFA U-20 World Cup and FIFA U-17 World Cup, and to appoint Indonesia and Peru respectively, who were due to host the tournaments in 2021, as the hosts of the 2023 editions,” the world football’s governing body said in a statement.
This means that Peru will host the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2023.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges for the hosting of international sporting events and to have a restrictive effect on international travel,” FIFA said in its statement.
“FIFA has therefore regularly consulted the relevant stakeholders, including the host member associations as well as the confederations involved in both tournaments originally scheduled to take place in 2021.
“In doing so, it became clear that the global situation has failed to normalize to a sufficient level to address the challenges associated with hosting both tournaments, including the feasibility of the relevant qualification pathways.”
Equally, FIFA also put off the next editions of FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups slated for India and Costa Rica in 2021 and 2022.
The cancellation was confirmed in a letter by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to all national associations affiliated to CAF dated December 20, 2020.
“We regret to inform you that due to the worldwide situation that was strongly affected by the COVID-19 as well as the difficulties all confederations are facing to complete the qualifiers phase, FIFA decided to cancel both the U17 & U20 Women’s World Cups -2020,” the letter from CAF headquarters to affiliate associations stated.
“Consequently, the phases of all the continental qualifiers in both categories are as well cancelled,” the body said.
The FIFA Women U-20 World Cup, 10th edition had initially been scheduled to be played in January and February 2021 while the U-17 Women’s World Cup to be hosted in India was shifted from November 2020 to April 2021, but both tournaments are now officially off.
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