On Tuesday February 18, the schedule for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2020 which is going to be held in India was unveiled. The tournament will commence on 2nd November and the final will be played at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on 21st November.
The Indian team will be playing all of their group matches at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar will be hosting the Group B matches, Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata will be hosting all the Group C matches while all the Group D teams will be playing their matches at the TransStadia Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Kiren Rijiju, the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports emphasized on the importance of hosting major FIFA events. He said,
"India is a country with unlimited opportunities and potential and the country should not be lacking behind in a global game such as football. We will do everything to ensure that the people of the country and the FIFA committee say in unison that India can host major FIFA events."
He also expanded on how India was allowed to get an extra venue for the upcoming tournament.
"For the first time, there are five cities hosting a U-17 tournament and I would like to thank FIFA for granting one extra venue. We made a plea to FIFA for allowing us an extra venue as we are a country of continental size and continental population. I will ensure that all the people who are looking forward to the tournament with excitement get to witness the most memorable and the most successful tournament."
Sarai Bareman, the Chief of Women's Football, FIFA talked about the unlimited potential that can be unlocked if approached in the right manner. She said,
"Last November, I attended the preparation event here in Delhi which raised the bar very high for the U-17 Women's World Cup scheduled for November this year. There is massive opportunity to develop football in this country which is unparalleled anywhere in the world. We would like to impact the young girls and women in this country to take up the sport on the pitch and off the field as well in technical aspects, behind the camera and behind the mics as well."
AIFF President, Praful Patel clarified on why the hosting was given to certain cities while hotbeds like Goa and Kerala were ignored. Mr. Patel said,
"We have the support of states like Goa and Kerala but we have noticed that the epicentre of Indian football has shifted to the NorthEast and we are very happy that cities like Bhubhaneshwar and Ahmedabad have taken the responsibility of hosting a major FIFA event like this."
This is the first occasion that an Indian women's team is participating in a FIFA event and Mr. Patel also emphasized on the good performances of the India U-17 women's side on their current preparatory tour giving an example of their hard fought 3-3 draw against Romania's U-17 women's team. He also clarified that he is not implying that the host team will be champions at the end of November but they will not be pushovers either.