New Delhi: FIFA today (May 12) announced new dates for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 to be played in India. The tournament was earlier scheduled to be held in November this year but was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, FIFA said, “Following a thorough assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent recommendations made by the FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has taken the decision to confirm the following proposed new tournament dates, subject to further monitoring:

“FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020: 17 February - 7 March 2021 (tournament to keep original eligibility criteria: players born on or after 1 January 2003 and on or before 31 December 2005).”

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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) commented on the announcement of new dates (February 17 to March 7, 2021).

“Following today’s announcement by FIFA, the AIFF and LOC are pleased with the confirmation of the new dates. The dates were confirmed after taking into account the time needed to complete the UEFA, CONCACAF, CAF, OFC, and CONMEBOL qualification tournaments as well as the best possible conditions in the country to host a successful FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup,” they said.

“We are now looking ahead and hoping to host a wonderful tournament that will give women’s football in India, the perfect platform to grow and develop. All the host cities have put in a lot of effort and commitment so far, and we are happy that the new dates will allow them to make up for the lost time and provide momentum going forward.

"All the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, have been supportive of the decision keeping in mind the health, safety and security of everyone involved, especially the teams and fans. The LOC will continue to work together with FIFA, and we remain fully committed to hosting a memorable and successful tournament,” they added.

Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted, “The new dates for the FIFA #U17WWC to be held in India between Feb 17 to Mar 7, 2021 is announced. I assure full coperation and support to make it a grand success (sic).”

"Delighted to share the new dates for the #U17WWC, which will now be held between Feb 17 to Mar 7, 2021. I would like to thank all our stakeholders for their continuous support over this period. AIFF & LOC remain committed to delivering a historic tournament. 
#football #India (sic)," AIFF president Praful Patel wrote on Twitter.

The prestigious tournament will be played in Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Guwahati, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai. A total of 16 teams including hosts India, will be in action. The last edition was won by Spain in 2018 in Uruguay.