• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
businessday logo


Qatar, Morocco to host five editions of FIFA U17 World Cups

FIFA U17 World Cup

World football governing body FIFA has made a historic decision to award 10 editions of its U17 World Cups to be hosted by Qatar and Morocco, commencing in 2025 as the tournaments transition to an annual event.

Qatar will host each 48-team edition of the men’s U17 World Cup from 2025 through 2029, while Morocco will host five editions of the women’s U17 World Cup for 24 teams.

The decisions made by FIFA’s ruling council on Thursday underscore the growing influence of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the world of soccer.

Qatar, having successfully hosted the men’s 2022 World Cup, and Morocco, slated to be one of six co-hosts for the 2030 edition, have both become pivotal players in the soccer world. Notably, both countries are represented on the 37-member FIFA Council, alongside Saudi Arabia, which is poised to host the men’s World Cup in 2034.

FIFA’s decisions were made following a global call for expressions of interest in hosting both competitions, with an emphasis on utilizing existing venues to enhance tournament efficiency and sustainability.

Previously biennial events, FIFA is transitioning the U17 World Cups to an annual format to ensure that no age group of players is excluded and to expedite the development of national teams worldwide.

The 2024 edition of the women’s tournament is scheduled to be hosted by the Dominican Republic, commencing on October 16. Indonesia hosted the previous men’s U17 edition last year.

FIFA’s decision to award Indonesia the U17 tournament was in response to the nation’s refusal to host Israel’s games at the men’s U20 World Cup last year, resulting in the event being relocated. This decision underscored FIFA’s commitment to holding member nations accountable for their obligations to welcome all qualifying teams.

Looking ahead, FIFA will propose measures to combat racism in soccer during the upcoming congress meeting on May 17 in Bangkok, Thailand. Additionally, member federations will select a host for the 2027 Women’s World Cup from Brazil, the United States, Mexico, and a European bid by Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino emphasized the organization’s dedication to football development, with a record $2.25 billion allocated for investment in the 2023-2026 cycle.

Infantino also reiterated the need for stricter measures to combat racism in football, emphasizing FIFA’s commitment to eradicating this scourge from the sport.