The international governing body of football, FIFA, on Wednesday said that it was monitoring the situation that has risen amid the COVID-19 pandemic in India which is scheduled to host the Women’s U-17 World Cup in November this year.
The global outbreak of novel coronavirus, which has already killed more than 21,100 people and infected over 4,68,600, has affected India as well. There have been over 600 reported cases of COVID-19 in the country with 14 fatalities.
In an attempt to restrict the spread of the deadly virus and encourage people to practice social distancing, the Indian government has enforced a complete lockdown of 21 days till April 14.
“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,” PTI quoted the apex body as saying.
“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.
PTI has also reported that FIFA is working closely with representatives of all the confederations and other stakeholders regarding the dates of their respective qualifying matches as only three teams have made it to the finals of the 16-team event so far.
India has qualified as the host nation, while North Korea (winner) and Japan (runner-up) progressed from the Asian qualifiers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the sporting calendars across the world with football being the worst-hit. All major leagues and tournaments across the world, including the top five European leagues and the UEFA Champions League, have come to a standstill.
The Euro 2020 and the Copa America 2020, which were scheduled to be played in this year’s summer, have now been postponed.
FIFA was also forced to cancel the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. The global governing body has also postponed next year’s Club World Cup to accommodate the Euro and the Copa America at that time.