FIFA Announces Expansion of U-17 World Cups: Qatar and Morocco Secure 5 Years Hosting Rights

FIFA’s Decision Reflects Growing Influence of Gulf Nations and Efforts for Global Expansion

In a surprising move aimed at expanding the youth football landscape, FIFA has granted hosting rights for five expanded U-17 World Cups to Qatar and five 24-team U-17 Women’s World Cups to Morocco, underscoring the enduring influence of Qatar in football and FIFA’s relentless pursuit of growth.

The decision, revealed after a Council meeting on Thursday, outlines a significant transformation in the structure of the U-17 global finals. From 2025 to 2029, Qatar will serve as the venue for the revamped U-17 World Cups, featuring an annual schedule and accommodating 48 participating teams in the men’s category.

Similarly, Morocco will organize the U-17 Women’s World Cups during the same period, welcoming 24 teams annually, a notable increase from the current 16-team format. FIFA emphasized that the selection process involved a global call for expressions of interest and assured the utilization of existing venues to enhance tournament efficiency and sustainability.

Despite FIFA’s decision not disclosing other interested countries, the announcement marks a pivotal moment in FIFA’s efforts to ensure broader participation and development of international football. However, concerns arise over the repetitive hosting of tournaments in Qatar and the potential implications for developing nations seeking hosting opportunities.

While Qatar’s recent hosting of the 2023 Asian Cup and its forthcoming role in the U-23 Asian Cup demonstrate its growing prominence in global football events, questions linger about the distribution of hosting opportunities and the impact on fostering football development worldwide.

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As FIFA aims to fulfill its mission of expanding football’s reach, the decision to award hosting rights to Qatar and Morocco underscores the evolving landscape of football governance and the increasing involvement of Gulf nations in shaping the sport’s future.

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