World football governing body, FIFA, on 25 March said it is monitoring the developments arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, which is scheduled to host the Women’s U-17 World Cup in November. FIFA said it is also exploring “alternative solutions”.
“FIFA is currently monitoring developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak in India to decide the future of the U-17 Women’s World Cup which is slated to be held in the country in November,” the apex body said in a statement after PTI inquired.
“With public health and safety in mind, FIFA is also working with the Local Organising Committee to identify any potential impact on preparations for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020, as well as finding alternative solutions to upcoming events that were planned in India in the lead up to the tournament,” it added.
Sixteen teams will take part in the World Cup, of which only three have sealed their berths. India has qualified as the host nation, while North Korea (winner) and Japan (runner-up) progressed from the Asian qualifiers.
The pandemic has led to either cancellation or postponement of all sporting events lined up in the coming times, the biggest being the Tokyo Olympics and Euros. FIFA is also working with representatives of all confederations regarding dates for their respective qualifying tournaments.
The World Cup is scheduled to be held from 2 November to 21 November with matches to be played in Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati.
The coronavirus outbreak has so far claimed lives of over 20,000 people across the world while infecting more than 4,25,000. In India, the pandemic has affected over 600 people besides 10 deaths.