FIFA are considering the possibility of abolishing the U-17 & U-19 youth World Cup tournaments in order to pave the way for a huge 48-team grand event soon. The England youth teams emerged winners in both the youth Cups last year but if all goes as planned things will be different in the future.
The U-17 World Cup which India hosted recently was termed as a huge success by Indian authorities such as the AIFF and the sports ministry, but foreign officials had other things to say regarding the same. However, for better or worse, the tournament did manage to help and make the sport of football more popular among the masses in our country.
All that is set to change, as a proposal is being considered by FIFA officials to scrap both the U-17 & U-19 World Cups in order to make way for a grand event that will compromise of around 48 teams all across the globe as per AP sources.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino led the discussions for the proposal at the recent FIFA Executive Summits that were held in Nouakchott in Mauritania and Lagos in Nigeria that concluded on February 20. The
"Proposals and discussions are ongoing with stakeholders which include, among others, FIFA's member associations and Confederations,” A FIFA spokesperson said at a press conference.
FIFA told The Associated Press that the proposals only form part of an ongoing review of the youth competitions two years into Infantino reign as president during which he has already made changes in the main World Cup with the participating teams expanded from 32 to 48 teams from 2026.
England managed to win the U-19 World Cup in South Korea in June last year followed by a triumph in the U-17 World Cup as well in India last October in what was a fruitful year for the young British teams, during which they also won the U-19 European title.
The women's U-17 and U-20 World Cups will be played in the countries of Uruguay and France respectively this year. North Korea who won both the titles last year will look to repeat the feat this year as well.