Friday 15 September 2023, 18:00

FIFA President hails return of “inspiring” FIFA U-17 World Cup

  • Gianni Infantino says 2023 edition in Indonesia “deserves a specific welcome” after pandemic

  • First FIFA tournament staged in south-east Asia “a massive boost” to football in region

  • FIFA President extends condolences to Morocco earthquake and Libya flood victims

FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his delight at the return of the FIFA U-17 World Cup™️ with Indonesia set to host the 2023 edition of the tournament that gives the game’s brightest young talents a “first opportunity to experience the global stage.”

The competition is traditionally staged every two years, but was not held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the 24-team final tournament kicks off in Indonesia on 10 November, it will mark its comeback on the international football calendar.

“It deserves a specific welcome, because this tournament plays a crucial developmental role because it provides the next generation of footballers with the first opportunity to experience the global stage,” said Mr. Infantino in a video address aired at Friday’s group stage draw held at FIFA HQ in Zürich, Switzerland. “This is a platform for inspiring stars and 2023 will be no exception.”

The tournament, which runs through to the final on 2 December, was originally scheduled to be held in Peru before infrastructure development difficulties led to FIFA regretfully removing the tournament hosting rights from the South American nation.

Matches will now be played across four Indonesian cities, Bandung, Surabaya, Surakarta, and the capital Jakarta, in what will be an historic development for football in the region.

“I would like to thank Indonesia for stepping up as tournament hosts. It is the first time they will host a FIFA tournament and it is the first time the FIFA Under-17 World Cup will take place in south-east Asia.

“Another major first is that Indonesia will be making their tournament debut, and that will serve as a massive boost to the beautiful game in the region, inspiring girls and boys across Indonesia and neighbouring countries to take up the game we all love.

“Because that is what the FIFA Under-17 World Cup is about: showcasing young talent. It is the key reason why this and the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup tournament will be held every year, rather than every two years, from 2025 onwards,” said the FIFA President.

“I would very much like to thank the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government, the PSSI President Erick Thohir and his team, and everyone who has been involved in getting everything in place for the start of the tournament.”

Mr. Infantino also took the opportunity to publicly express condolences on behalf of FIFA to all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Morocco and the catastrophic flooding in Libya in the last week.

“On behalf of FIFA and the global football community, I would like to send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who have lost their lives following the earthquake in Morocco and the floods in Libya,” said the FIFA President. “Our thoughts are with you all at this most difficult time.”