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Uzbekistan Forfeits FIFA Tournament Due To 'Technical' Reasons

Football's international governing body, FIFA, has decided to take away the 2012 Women's Under-20 World Cup from host Uzbekistan because of "logistical and technical issues," RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

FIFA's Executive Committee ruled during its meeting in Tokyo on December 16-17 that it had no option but to select another country to host the world championship tournament.

It said Japan is the first choice to replace Uzbekistan as host of the 16-country tournament.

An official at the Uzbekistan Football Federation (UFF) office in Tashkent told RFE/RL on December 19 that the association has not been told about FIFA's decision.

"Yes, everybody is talking about this news, but we haven't been officially informed yet," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We are waiting for an official letter [on December 20] and we're expecting more details about these 'technical issues' as well."

The Under-20 Women's World Cup would have taken place in six Uzbek cities: Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Qarshi, Mubarak, and Guzor from August 18 until September 8.

Uzbek officials had undertaken several renovation projects in some of the cities to prepare for the tournament.

FIFA said in a statement that it expresses "its sincerest thanks to the UFF for their considerable efforts and commitment."

It added that FIFA's Executive Committee has decided to "compensate the UFF [in its loss of the tournament] by organizing another FIFA event, not necessarily a women's competition, whenever it becomes possible in the future or by awarding the UFF new development projects."

It is highly unusual for FIFA to take a tournament away from a host country, which is awarded the event in a competitive bidding process with several other countries a few years before the tournament.