A semblance of normality returns
Following an unprecedented year of disruption in 2020, sport administrators, teams and officials were forced to cancel events and tournaments throughout much of the year. In 2021, many of these were able to take place again.
Countless events and opportunities fell by the wayside, causing competition organisers, clubs and players considerable uncertainty. FIFA was not immune to the inevitable trend, with significant cancellations and postponements to both major and grassroots events the only option throughout the year.
However, with the success of global vaccine rollouts taking effect, along with the continued implementation of the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, FIFA and its 211 member associations were able to make a tentative start towards returning to normality in 2021.
Global competitions reappeared: the delayed Olympic Football Tournaments took place in Tokyo, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ was held in Russia and Lithuania hosted the FIFA Futsal World Cup™. A new tournament was also able to take place in Qatar – the FIFA Arab Cup™.
The women’s game also showed signs of recovery. FIFA Forward funds sent to all 211 member associations across the world allowed thousands of players to get back to playing the game they love. Meanwhile, preparations for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 continued to gather pace as qualification competitions got under way.
COVID-19 caused unprecedented hardship, heartache and harm – in almost every walk of life. While FIFA continued to recognise in its activities and initiatives that the battle persists, 2021 was the year when the world was able to take its first steps on the long road to healing hearts and minds – with the global game proving to be an important tool in that process.
“In the past year, FIFA was able to practically support our member associations with collaboration, compassion, and leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, having ensured that no member of the global football community need struggle alone, we can push forward to develop the modern, accessible and inclusive global game that we have envisioned.”