FIFA postpones U-17 and U-20 World Cups till 2023 due to coronavirus pandemic
The current COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the sporting world, as numerous tournaments have been postponed. FIFA has been on the receiving end, delaying a few global competitions, just like UEFA, that too has postponed some of its European tournaments.
In another setback for the football, as well as the sporting world, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has postponed it's two junior men's World Cups, citing the prevailing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The U-17 and U-20 World Cups, which were scheduled to be held in 2021, have been delayed until 2023.
The tournaments were supposed to be held in Indonesia and Peru. Meanwhile, FIFA has also expressed its gratitude towards the hosting countries and would continue to world closely to host the tournament 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 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," said FIFA in a statement.
"In doing so, it became clear that the global situation has failed to normalise to a sufficient level to address the challenges associated with hosting both tournaments, including the feasibility of the relevant qualification pathways," the statement added.
FIFA has decided to expand the teams participating slot for the Women's World Cup to 32 teams, in another development. The spots for the next edition, in 2023, would include AFC- 6, CAF- 4, Concacaf- 4, CONMEBOL- 3, OFC- 1 and UEFA- 11, while the hosts, Australia and New Zealand, have qualified automatically.
As for the remaining three spots, it would be determined through a 10-team playoff. The playoff would also see the two host sides playing friendlies against the teams in the two playoffs group.