FIFA gave MAs 20 days to bid for U-17, 5-year hosting packages before handing rights to Qatar and Morocco

FIFA sign

March 27 – FIFA allowed member associations just 20 days to bid for a consolidated package of five men’s and women’s U-17 World Cups that Zurich ultimately awarded to Qatar and Morocco. 

In a circular sent to the 211 members of FIFA on November 15, 2023, the global governing body invited member associations to bid for the tournaments, expanded to 48 teams and staged on an annual basis, setting a deadline on December 4.

FIFA wrote that “under a new hosting concept aligned with these decisions, both tournaments will shift from a purely stadium-based model to a predominantly football-festival/parkland model,” a motive it seemingly used to award five consecutive editions of the tournaments in block.

In a press release on March 14, following a meeting of the FIFA Council, Zurich revealed that, starting in 2025, Qatar and Morocco will host the U-17 tournaments following “a global call for expressions of interest.” FIFA however failed to disclose which other member nations had expressed interest.

The Danish Football Association (DBU) was keen on organising the U-17 World Cup in 2025 and notified FIFA of their interest, but the DBU said they never heard back from Zurich. The DBU were not the only European to be left blindsided by FIFA.

Last year, Australia were given just 25 days to bid for the 2034 World Cup. On the same day that FIFA released the timeline for expressions of interest and set the deadline at the end of October, Saudi Arabia announced their intention to bid for the tournament with the backing of the Asian Football Confederation. Football Australia opted against bidding and the Arab Kingdom is expected to land the 2034 finals later this year.

FIFA’s media office failed to respond to a request for comment.

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