Due to the current epidemiological situation in Zurich and Switzerland as a whole, FIFA and the Organising Committee have decided to postpone the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup, which is traditionally held over the Ascension holiday. COVID-19 caused the cancellation of last year’s tournament – but the organisers are still hoping that this year’s event will go ahead, if possible, at the end of August.
As was the case in 2020, there are serious doubts as to whether this year’s Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup tournament at the Buchlern sports complex in Altstetten, Zurich, will take place. For FIFA and the Organising Committee, it is already clear that the original dates on which it was due to be held – 12 and 13 May – are out of the question since, bearing in mind the current pandemic situation, it would be inconceivable to hold the competition over the Ascension holiday. The organisers would prefer to avoid cancelling the second consecutive edition of the traditional youth tournament and have therefore agreed on alternative dates of 28-29 August 2021.
Line-up still uncertain
The international travel restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic are presenting a major organisational headache when it comes to assembling the participating teams, not to mention the format and kick-off times. Despite the challenges, FIFA and the Organising Committee will do all they can to put on two attractive tournaments, one each for girls and boys. Working closely with the City of Zurich as well as the sponsors and suppliers of this long-established and popular youth event, the organisers will leave no stone unturned in endeavouring to make sure that Altstetten sees some action this year.
It goes without saying, however, that health always comes first, which applies in particular to the players and the many volunteers who will (hopefully) be involved. Together with the relevant authorities, FIFA and the Organising Committee will continue to keep a close eye on the epidemiological situation over the next few weeks and will develop appropriate protection concepts and measures. As things stand, many questions remain unanswered, not least whether spectators would be admitted to the tournament.
However, such considerations will be academic if it becomes evident in the early summer that holding the tournament at the end of August would be unrealistic. In such circumstances, the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup would again fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic and be cancelled.