Preparations on track for delayed FIFA U-17 Women's WC

Venue preparations for postponed FIFA U-17 Women's WC on track: AIFF

Representative image. (Credit: iStock)

All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das on Wednesday said that the COVID-19 pandemic has failed to hamper the preparations at all the five venues of the postponed FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.

"These are unforeseen circumstances, and there have been some setbacks. But three of the five venues had already hosted the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017 and they do not require much changes," Das said in a webinar arranged by Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) Asia.

"Among the other two venues -- Bhubaneswar and Ahmedabad -- most of the work is on schedule. In Odisha, we have been working closely with the State Government, and also in Ahmedabad. We are quite hopeful that the venues will be ready in time," he continued.

The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup was initially scheduled to be held from November 2 to 21 this year but now has been postponed to February 17 to March 7, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Footballing activities in India is currently suspended due to the health crisis but Das said preparatory camp for the U-17 probables would start soon.

"Right now our coach is back in Sweden, while the players are back at their respective residences. There are some travel restrictions but we are working on how and when we can safely restart the camp," the AIFF official said.

"The coach is quite hopeful because this is a situation that every team is facing. So we are all on a level playing field,” he said.

"We had a number of exposure tours planned for the team but we will have to revisit those plans."

Das believes the pandemic has taught the sporting world value of digitisation.

"There have been travel issues and people have been practising social distancing. But we have seen that a lot of things can be done online," he said.

"We have helped SAI (Sports Authority of India) organise a coaching course which was attended by around 1,000 coaches from across the country.

"I don't think so many coaches would have been able to join had it not been an online discipline." 

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