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FIFA Under-17 World Cup to Become Annual Event

The FIFA Under-17 World Cup will undergo a significant change, shifting from a biennial event to an annual tournament, FIFA announced on Thursday. The next five editions from 2025 onward will be held in Qatar, expanding to include 48 teams, akin to the senior men’s World Cup.

In parallel, the women’s Under-17 World Cup will also transition to an annual format starting in 2025, with Morocco hosting an expanded 24-team competition until 2029, compared to the 16 teams in the 2022 edition.

The shift to annual tournaments aims to ensure that no age group of players misses out on the opportunity while also fostering the development of national teams globally.

This move by FIFA’s ruling council reflects the increasing influence of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in football. Qatar, the host of the men’s 2022 World Cup, and Morocco, one of the co-hosts of the 2030 edition, have elected delegates on FIFA’s 37-member council. Saudi Arabia, also represented on the council, is expected to host the men’s World Cup in 2034.

The hosting decisions for both the men’s and women’s Under-17 World Cups were made following a global call for expressions of interest. The tournaments will utilize existing venues to ensure tournament efficiency and sustainability.

FIFA also announced a record $2.25 billion earmarked for football development in the 2023-2026 cycle, reflecting its strong financial governance.

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