FIFA will hold its Congress online later this year ©Getty Images

FIFA will hold its first virtual Congress this year after the annual gathering of its membership in Addis Ababa was postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.

World football's governing body had pushed back the Congress in the Ethiopian capital from June to September in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Bureau of its Council has now decided to stage it as an online event.

FIFA said the Congress would take place on September 18.

It is not yet clear what technology and voting systems will be used for the Congress, nor whether Ethiopia will be given the chance to host a future edition of the annual meeting.

Governing bodies in sport have been forced to use video technology to hold key meetings during the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely restricted international travel and prompted Governments to ban mass gatherings.

FIFA is the latest International Federation to announce plans to stage the annual meeting of its supreme body remotely.

FIFA said the online Congress would take place on September 18 ©Getty Images
FIFA said the online Congress would take place on September 18 ©Getty Images

The International Rowing Federation's Congress later this year will be held remotely, while World Sailing is considering a virtual Annual General Meeting, including its Presidential election, if the event cannot be staged as planned.

The Bureau of the FIFA Council, comprising President Gianni Infantino and the heads of each of the six confederations, has also rescheduled two major women's tournaments which had been due to take place this year.

The Under-20 Women’s World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Costa Rica and Panama, has been pushed back from its initial August and September slot to January 20 to February 6.

The Under-17 Women's World Cup in India, originally scheduled for November 2 to 21, has been rearranged for February 17 to March 7, 2021.

FIFA confirmed both tournaments would keep their original eligibility criteria.