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FIFA open to reducing number of venues for U-17 Women’s World Cup, says official

Navi Mumbai: Director of FIFA Tournaments Jamie Yarza on Tuesday indicated that the world body is “open” to reducing the number of venues for the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to be held in India later this year.

Asked specifically whether FIFA is looking at reducing the number of venues to three from the current five, Yarza told reporters, “Anything is open right now.”

There is no decision, there is no final evaluation, so it is a little bit together with AIFF, FIFA will make a proposal after this inspection to see exactly.

“Because of that reason, to see that we can guarantee success in the tournament and strengthen the development of women’s football without jeopardizing the health of all the participants,” Yarza explained.

Yarza and his delegation inspected the DY Patil Stadium, which is one of the venues for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

They would be heading to Bhubaneswar and Goa from Navi Mumbai.

Apart from Navi Mumbai, the tournament as of now is slated to be played in Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Guwahati.

Asked whether FIFA would look at how AFC conducted the Women’s Asian Cup at three venues in Maharashtra, the official added, Again everything is open. We really need to see what are the circumstances in every place and evaluate various factors including the travel between the venues, the development of the pandemic in the next weeks.

He, however, said that a decision will be taken soon.

We can’t wait very long, we need to make a decision much earlier. So, it might be (that) we go for a reduced version and then certainly the pandemic is all gone, we could have done it bigger and but we need to make a decision as soon as possible to make sure that all the facilities are ready and all the plans are in place.

It is a little bit open and we have a big team and great support from LOC and its chairman to make sure that we make a decision that is good for India as well as good for women’s football, he said.

Yarza also said that the FIFA Men’s U-17 World Cup hosted by India in 2017 was the best ever.

“Personally and FIFA are very pleased to come to India. The U-17 (Men’s World Cup) that we organised in India, probably was the best ever U17 that the one we had, at least in the ones that I have been working with is 23 years,” he quipped.

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