Bengaluru, April 4: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) said the decision of the game's global governing body to postpone the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup to be held in India from November 2 to 21 was on the expected lines and that it was duty bound to accept it.
The women's age group showpiece was to be held at five venues in the country --Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai.
The tournament was to be competed among 16 teams, with hosts India being automatic qualifiers. It was to be India's maiden appearance in the U-17 Women's World Cup.
However, FIFA decided to put off the event following the global increase in the case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"Our primary concern is health & wellbeing of every stakeholder involved in the #U17WWC2020 Tournament. We don't want to take any risk that is detrimental to our community before it is clear that there is no threat to people's health due to #CoronavirusPandemic," AIFF President Praful Patel tweeted.
Our primary concern is health & wellbeing of every stakeholder involved in the #U17WWC2020 Tournament. We don’t want to take any risk that is detrimental to our community before it is clear that there is no threat to people’s health due to #CoronavirusPandemic.@IndianFootball— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) April 4, 2020
AIFF General Secretary Kushal echoed Patel's views.
"Just like other sports events which were postponed due to this dreaded disease, the postponement of U-17 World Cup was to happen. We've to accept the decision," AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das was quoted as saying in an interview with PTI news agency
"The qualifying events in Europe and Africa and other confederations are yet to be held and so the decision was on expected lines," added Kushal, while expressing hope that tournament will take place some time next year.
Meanwhile, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) said it supported the decision though it was looking forward to host the tournament in November as scheduled.
"We agree that this has been made with the highest regard for public health, and the participating teams, host cities, staff and visiting fans, and keeps the best interests of everyone in mind," the LOC said in a statement.
The LOC said it will continue to provide full support to FIFA on all matters and look forward to hosting a successful tournament some time in the near future.