Roma Khanna has stepped down from her role as Tournament Director of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 for personal reasons. The World Cup is slated to be the first FIFA competition for women in the country, and the second to be held in India. Roma has had an elaborate career, first as the Chief Cricket Correspondent with CNN-IBN before making the switch to Football and working with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) as the Club Licensing Manager. She had a long and elaborate stint with the AIFF in various capacities over the last decade. Roma has also been a Director for Special Projects and Infrastructure of the AIFF. She was further part of the Local Organizing Committee for the FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup as the head of Venue Operations.
“I would like to thank AIFF and FIFA for placing their trust in me,” Khanna said in a statement on Saturday. “Leading the tournament in India has been a privilege and honor. I am proud of the work that has been done by the Local Organising Committee and am also grateful to the team that has shared the same vision about promoting women’s football in India. 2022 will be a big year for football and women’s sport in India and I can’t wait to cheer the Indian women’s teams.”
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das thanked Roma for her immense contribution to the game’s development in India. “On behalf of AIFF and the whole football family, I would like to thank Roma for her leadership and her contribution towards Indian football which included a variety of things,” he said.
Das also said that Khanna’s contributions included “setting up the club licensing system in the I-league, heading venue operations across six cities during the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, successfully bidding for two women’s football tournaments and bringing them to India, and setting up the National Centre of Excellence.”
Earlier when the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup was called off, a lot of questions were asked about the future of the girls who were slated to play last year. Khanna failed to clarify if players who would have taken part in this year’s edition would be allowed to participate in 2022. Players born between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2005 would have been able to take part in the 2020 edition of the tournament.