COVID thwarts FIFA flagship fixtures



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FIFA competitions postponed Image: FIFA

With a new COVID-19 strain putting the whole world into further turmoil, FIFA has postponed next year’s U-20 World Cup in Indonesia and U-17 tournament in Peru until 2023.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup, founded as the FIFA U-16 World Championship, later changed to U-17 in 1991 and to its current name in 2007, is the world championship of association football for male players under the age of 17 organized by FIFA.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup is the biennial football world championship for male players under the age of 20, organized by FIFA. The competition has been staged every two years since the first tournament in 1977 held in Tunisia. Until 2005 it was known as the FIFA World Youth Championship.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges for the hosting of international sporting events and to have a restrictive effect on international travel,” a statement sent out by football’s governing body read.

“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,” the statement further read.

The statement added that FIFA looks forward to working with both host countries “to organize successful tournaments” in 2023.

The two events follow other international soccer showpieces which have got trapped in the COVID-19 maelstrom, with Euro 2020 held over until next June, the Copa America moved to the same date, and the Africa Cup of Nations, held over until January 2022.

Earlier, 2021 men’s and women’s U-17 European Championships have been canceled due to the disastrous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Based on a constant monitoring of the development of the pandemic … the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Executive Committee decided after consultation with all 55 member-associations to cancel and/or postpone some of the 2020-21 youth national team competitions,” a UEFA statement stated.

Euro 2020, UEFA’s flagship tournament which was due to take place this June, was postponed by a year and will run from June 11th to July 11th, 2021.

Coronavirus has infected over 7 crore people across the world since its outbreak. Over 17 lakh people have lost their lives due to the fatal respiratory disease.

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