Sun, Sep


CONCACAF confirmed Thursday that World Cup qualifying for the region will definitely change due to the calendar disruption of the Covid-19 global pandemic. However, the confederation that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean did not put forward a revamped format.

At a FIFA Council meeting on Wednesday, football’s governing body announced the cancellation of the September international match window for AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), OFC (Oceania) and Concacaf regions while expanding the June 2021 international window to four match dates.

The announcement had an immediate effect on the Caribbean, North and Central American region (Concacaf). In a press release. Concacaf confirmed earlier speculation from its president Victor Montagliani that time lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic will likely see drastic readjustments to the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying process.

“This means our qualifying process for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will not begin in September, as previously scheduled,” was Concacaf’s reaction to decisions taken at Wednesday’s FIFA Council meeting.

Concacaf provided no details of the coming changes. However, there has been speculation that the 12 top Concacaf teams, divided into three groups of four, will play for three automatic World Cup spots. Teams ranked 13-35 in Concacaf will play in a supplemental competition with the winner vying for an inter-continental playoff spot, against the team finishing fourth among the top 12.

Incomplete FIFA rankings

“The challenges presented by postponements to the football calendar, and the incomplete FIFA rankings cycle in our confederation, mean 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 finalise a new World Cup Qualification format for the Concacaf region,” Concacaf said.

“We will also work with our stakeholders to reorganise 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.”

Trinidad and Tobago head coach Terry Fenwick was not yet aware of FIFA’s recent action and is unable to yet make an assessment of how the national team is affected. Appointed in January by the TTFA administration headed by William Wallace, Fenwick has not yet been in charge for a single match due to a combination of the Covid-19 outbreak and also FIFA’s intervention in local football which has seen a normalisation committee replacing Wallace’s executive.

Fenwick’s team was expected to see action in March. However, due to Covid 19, Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers were postponed. But since the easing of quarantine restrictions this month, Fenwick has begun the process of preparing the team with a contingent made up mainly of young prospects.

“I’m trying to bring the local kids together. We have been training three days a week,” he said, “We stopped because of the Sahara dust.”

The 60-year-old former England defender also announced that he can at the moment make no concrete plans until his status is finalised.

“I am still waiting for official feedback,” he told the Express. “I am waiting on direction.”

SOURCE: T&T Express