The OFC U-17 Championship and OFC U-20 Championship tournaments have been postponed but remain on track to take place this year.

The events were originally meant to be played in 2020 as qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 and FIFA U-20 World Cups but were delayed due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last month, FIFA cancelled the FIFA U-17 World Cup that was meant to be held in Peru in October and the FIFA U-20 World Cup that was set for Indonesia in May-June. 

Given OFC’s youth tournaments are a key element of its long-term strategy to qualify two teams for the FIFA World Cup 2026, OFC’s Executive Committee has agreed to try and exhaust all possible options to play them in 2021. 

All of OFC’s tournaments have been on hold since March 2020 due to the global pandemic and ongoing border restrictions throughout the Pacific. 

If the youth events can go ahead this year, the original hosts will be retained with Fiji holding the OFC U-17 Championship and Samoa staging the OFC U-20 Championship. 

A decision around potential new dates for the tournaments will be decided by OFC’s Executive Committee in the coming months. 

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said it was vital to give our region’s youth footballers the opportunity to play in these events. 

“The players who take part in these tournaments could potentially progress to represent their senior national team and we want to ensure they have as many chances as possible to play in meaningful, competitive matches at youth level,” Castillo said. 

“We thank the Executive Committee for their vision and patience regarding these tournaments and we hope we can hold them safely at the appropriate time.” 

The OFC U-16 Women’s Championship and OFC U-19 Women’s Championship events also remain on track to be held later this year. 

Those tournaments will serve as qualifiers for the next editions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup that are due to be played in 2022.