FIFA Under-17 World Cups to become annual events

Players of Brazil celebrate their 2-1 win over Mexico in the Under-17 Word Cup final

The FIFA Under-17 World Cup will be held annually instead of biennially, with the next five editions from 2025 to take place in Qatar.

Like the senior men’s World Cup, the Under-17 tournament will be expanded to 48 teams, FIFA said.

The women’s Under-17 World Cup will also be played annually from 2025, with Morocco hosting an expanded 24-team event until 2029. The 2022 edition had 16 teams.

“This followed a global call for expressions of interest in hosting both competitions, with a focus on leveraging the use of existing footballing infrastructure in the interest of tournament efficiencies and sustainability,” FIFA said.

The last men’s Under-17 World Cup was held in 2023 with Germany winning their first title. Spain won the women’s edition in 2022.

Qatar hosted the 2022 senior men’s World Cup in winter while Morocco are one of the co-hosts for the 2030 edition.

FIFA also said a record US$2.25 billion had been earmarked for the 2023-2026 cycle for investment in football development.

“Thanks to its solid financial governance, FIFA is well on track to exceed its budgetary target of US$11 billion for the 2023-2026 cycle,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at the FIFA Council meeting.

Infantino also called for the imposition of stricter measures to combat racism. Last month, he called for teams to face automatic defeat if their fans displayed racist behaviour.

“The 74th FIFA Congress will mark a milestone in FIFA’s ongoing efforts to fight racism with new and stricter measures to be applied worldwide in cooperation with all our member associations and the confederations,” Infantino added.

FIFA also published its annual report, saying it had recorded $1.17 billion in revenue in 2023, 53% higher than in 2019, the first year of the previous cycle.

The revenue from television broadcasting rights amounted to $267 million last year, boosted by television coverage of the 32-team women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“At the end of 2023, FIFA’s total assets amounted to $5,490 million, with the vast majority in cash and financial assets (86%),” Alejandro Dominguez, the chairperson of the finance committee, said in the report.

The annual report will be submitted for final approval at the FIFA Congress on May 17, when the hosts for the 2027 Women’s World Cup will also be voted on.

There are three bids for the tournament, including one from Brazil, a joint one from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, and another joint bid from Mexico and the United States.

The New Zealand men last played an Under-17 World Cup in 2023 in Indonesia, while the women played the 2022 tournament in India.

The New Zealand women finished third in 2018.


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