The tournament is now scheduled to be held from February 17 to March 7 in 2021.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup had to be rescheduled to next year. It was initially set to take place in November but now will be held from February 17 to March 7. However, since the situation is ever-evolving, it would be a tad bit preposterous to predict anything. The Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju acknowledges the inherent uncertainty of the entire situation but still remains optimistic about organizing the event and will try to do so by forming a safe environment for the participants by stringently following the health and safety regulations.
“The situation is dynamic and it is difficult to predict anything right now. However, holding sporting events is on the government agenda and we will work towards making the participation of teams as smooth as possible, in adherence to all government guidelines,” Kiren Rijiju told the Times of India.
Rijiju also spoke about the role of the tournament in terms of the sporting perspective, where athletes will receive an opportunity to go toe-to-toe with some top-notch talents whilst also emphasizing the fiscal benefits of hosting the World Cup.
“An event like FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup being hosted in India will not only give our athletes great exposure to international talent but will also act as a boost for the economy, so we are very hopeful that we will be able to host it smoothly.”
Odisha has emerged as a center for promising sporting talent and has made plenty of efforts in providing the necessary support for athletes. Furthermore, the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar has been chosen as one of the stadiums for the upcoming event.
The Odisha Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera has provided assurance that all the necessary measures will be taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved, which is certainly a pre-requisite in the current environment.
He asserted, “We will also work closely with the Local Organising Committee of the tournament to ensure we adhere to the strictest of safety norms for the different category of people who will access the stadium, in wake of the coronavirus pandemic likely to still be a relevant factor when the tournament is held.”
“In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, though, there will have to be a new modus-operandi on the match-day operations front, something that we will have to work very closely with the LOC,” Tusharkanti Behera went on to add.
There are a number of complications that are bound to occur but so far, the LOC have maintained that they are on track to host the tournament according to the revised dates and Roma Khanna, the director of LOC reiterated that notion.
“The COVID situation is certainly unprecedented and nothing that most industries could have predicted, and sports likewise has been hit hard globally. As far as we are concerned, the LOC remains on track to host the tournament and is committed to providing the best of women’s football to the Indian public,” Khanna remarked.
Lastly, the director of LOC added that they are keeping in touch with the state governments of Maharashtra (Navi Mumbai) and Gujarat (Ahmedabad) as well as the other personnel involved in the operations of hosting the competition.
She said, “We are in constant touch with both the state governments as well as the other local stakeholders who are confident about hosting the tournament next year.”
“The stadiums do not require any infrastructure upgrade and both the state governments have provided us with the assurance that they remain committed, and we will work together with them to host a safe and successful tournament.”