FIFA keeping close watch on COVID-19 threat in India ahead of U-17 Women’s World Cup

Representative image

By Vishesh Roy
New Delhi [India], Mar 25 (ANI): As the country prepares to host the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup this year, the apex football body on Wednesday has said that it is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in India and is trying to find alternative solutions to upcoming events that were planned in the country ahead of the tournament.
The FIFA Women's U-17 World Cup is slated to be played in India from November 2-21 and it will be held in five cities-- Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, and Guwahati.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many tournaments to be postponed. The Tokyo Olympics 2020 have also been pushed to next year.
Various football leagues around the world including Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga have been postponed indefinitely.
However, FIFA has chosen to not send the alarm bells ringing over the going ahead of the tournament and has said that the situation is being closely monitored right now.
"FIFA is currently monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 in India in close collaboration with the Local Organising Committee, as well as other key stakeholders including the AIFF, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs and relevant authorities in the country," FIFA said in a statement to ANI.
"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.
A total of 16 teams will be participating in the tournament. India, being the hosts has already qualified for the tournament.
When asked as to how the things will unfold regarding qualification tournaments, FIFA replied: "Regarding qualification tournaments for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020, please note that FIFA is currently working closely together with confederations regarding dates for the respective qualifying tournaments".
The coronavirus has sent almost the entire world into a lockdown.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had termed the coronavirus as a 'pandemic' on March 11. (ANI)