KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFA has removed host rights to the U-17 World Cup from Peru, just eight months ahead of the scheduled opening game on October 5.
Concern had been growing for some time among the world federation’s staff that the Peruvian government and federation were falling down on preparations, in particular concerning the stadia. The draw had been scheduled for Lima on May 15 with the finals running from October 5 to 27
Peru’s laid-back approach has been in sharp contrast to the work undertaken by another South American nation, Uruguay, ahead of its own hosting of women’s under-17 event last November.
Most of the 24 teams have yet to qualify. The only certain finalists thus far are Australia, Japan, South Korea and Tajikistan (Asia) and New Zealand (Oceania).
Defending champions England do not qualify as of right however Peru were due to benefit from direct participation as hosts.
Confirmation that FIFA president Gianni Infantino had run out of patience with Peru was set out in a short statement issued from Zurich.
“Following various inspection visits by FIFA and further meetings with the Peruvian Football Association (FPF), and in view of a number of organisational and infrastructure challenges linked to the event delivery, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019 will no longer be staged in Peru.
“FIFA would like to express its thanks to the FPF and the Peruvian authorities for their efforts, and remains open to organising a competition in Peru in the future.
“FIFA is currently evaluating different alternatives concerning the appointment of a new host country. Further information will be provided by FIFA in due course.”
The Peruvian federation sought to throw all the blame on the government for failing to approve the standard tax exemption ensuring that players, officials and associated foreign companies are not liable twice over for revenue generated at the finals.
The federation said:
“The FPF has been notified by FIFA, which is rights-owner of the S17 Peru FIFA World Cup 2019 , that the appointment of Peru as the host country for this year 2019 has been suspended.
“Despite the great efforts made to deliver this U17 World Cup, both by the Local Organizing Committee and the Government of Peru, it has not been possible to achieve all the requirements requested by FIFA, mainly over the Government Guarantee No8 related to tax jurisdiction.”
FIFA is expected to issue shortly its timeline for finding a new host. Brazil is an early favourite, particularly since this would mean keeping the finals in South America – though the finals had been awarded initially to Rwanda.