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CONCACAF forced to change World Cup qualifying plans as FIFA cancels September international break

CONCACAF forced to change World Cup qualifying plans as FIFA cancels September international break 1

CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying campaign will look different this time around after FIFA confirmed that the September international window has been cancelled.

FIFA confirmed on Thursday that the September window would not go ahead for federations outside of Europe and South America.

The start of World Cup qualifying was set for that window, with the Hexagonal set to kickoff during that period with the top six teams per the FIFA rankings.

With the coronavirus continuing to hit hard across parts of North America, CONCACAF will now be forced to alter plans in the run up to the 2022 World Cup.

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“CONCACAF welcomes the decisions made by FIFA regarding the men’s and women’s international match calendars,” the federation said in a statement. “Many of our Member Associations and their communities continue to face significant challenges due to COVID-19 and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

“The rescheduling of competitions, and agreements on new international match dates, provide some encouragement across the football world and enable Concacaf to progress our planning to resume men’s and women’s international football when it is safe to do so.”

The federation had been preparing for this to happen for some time, with CONCACAF discussing the uncertainty surrounding World Cup qualifying since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

CONCACAF still intends to hold the finals for the federation’s inaugural Nations League as well, adding another complication to scheduling going forward.

Without an international break since February due to the cancellations of the March and June windows, the next opportunity to take the field would be in October if all goes to plan.

FIFA has helped matters a bit by pushing back the start of the from March 2022 to June 2022 while lengthening the June 2021 window by one week,

“The challenges presented by postponements to the football calendar, and the incomplete FIFA rankings cycle in our confederation, means our current World Cup Qualifying process has been compromised and will be changed. We will now work with the new framework provided and liaise with FIFA to finalize a new World Cup Qualification format for the CONCACAF region

“We will also work with our stakeholders to reorganize the CONCACAF Road to Gold Cup Qualifiers (originally scheduled for March and June 2020), the Concacaf Nations League Finals (originally scheduled for June 2020) and a range of other suspended competitions.

“A further update on World Cup Qualifying and other CONCACAF men’s international competitions will be provided in the coming weeks. We will also continue to work with FIFA and the other Confederations on the international match calendar process for women’s football to ensure we are well placed to support the return of the international women’s game as soon as possible.”

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