September 12 – FIFA has sent an inspection team to the five prospective host cities for the 2020 U-17 Women’s World Cup. It is the second FIFA tournament that India will stage in quick succession having hosted the U-17 Men’s World Cup in 2017.
“As of now we have visited and inspected five host cities that include Kolkata, Bhuvaneshwar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Navi Mumbai,” tournament director Roma Khanna told local media in Mumbai. “These were the cities that we had inspected (however) there is a lot of interest from other cities as well.”
“Last month we confirmed Bhubaneswar as one of the provincial venues for the World Cup. We have three more venues that we will be confirming in the coming months. In the next few months, the tournament window would also be known.”
Last March, the world federation awarded the hosting rights of the tournament to India. The 2017 men’s equivalent was played in Mumbai, Goa, New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati and Kochi.
The 24-team tournament that was won by England after defeating Spain 5-2 in the final, with matches attracting an average of 25,906 fans with huge crowds in particular in Kolkata.
However, the popularity of the tournament didn’t fundamentally change the outlook of Indian football that remains split between two different professional leagues and a lack of grassroots development. Women’s football suffers from even greater neglect in India and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) will be scratching its head to come up with a team that will be remotely competitive during the global finals. As host country, India has automatic qualification.
Khanna indicated that there will be “another FIFA inspection where, and second round of assessment will be done by the end of this year.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1576407304labto1576407304ofdlr1576407304owedi1576407304sni@o1576407304fni1576407304