Sat, Jul

Dominican Republic stays T&T's home game venue

The Dominican Republic is set to be the venue for T&T's next home game against St Kitts/Nevis in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on the road to Qatar 2022.

Robert Hadad, the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee chairman confirmed this recently, saying he has been negotiating, to have the game played there as a form of contingency.

The Soca Warriors' schedule for the opening round will see the team at home against Guyana (25 March), but playing in the Dominican Republic, then away to Puerto Rico (28 March), followed by an away game to the Bahamas (5 June), and home to St Kitts and Nevis on 8 June.

Hadad told Guardian Media Limited that: "We're now trying to negotiate with who will be in Miami, USA and who we can play friendlies with beforehand."

"We're trying to time it in such a way that we probably can go to Miami and may come back to the Dominican Republic, and then go to Puerto Rico, those discussions are in progress," the local football boss explained.

Hadad has had to fend off recent attempts by Guyana for the March 25 qualifier to be held in George Town, instead of the Dominican Republic, which was revealed to the public last month.

Following attempts by the normalisation committee for the country's international players to skip the mandatory 14-day period of quarantine and go into a bio-secure bubble proposed by the normalisation committee, Minister of Sports Shamfa Cudjoe blanked that option, saying the safety of the people of T&T is of paramount importance, atm Saturday's update on the coronavirus status in the country.

She told the country that her government was prepared to abide by the decisions of the Ministry of Health and its Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram.

As talks began ahead of the T&T and St Kitts/Nevis game in June, Hadad told Guardian Media Sports he had already engaged Parasram for guidance on that match. "I spoke to the CMO already this morning and it is difficult for him to predict from now where we're going to be at that time, where is COVID19 going to be, are we going to allow vaccines?."

"We had that discussion this morning and the question is are they going to allow vaccinated players to not quarantine? all depends on what kind of results they have and how many vaccines they've received, and how good our vaccination process has been. According to him (Parasram) it is impossible to give me any kind of guidance now, but we will continue seeking, probably again in the Dominican Republic on an alternative venue we can use."

Meanwhile, FIFA has been working with all Concacaf member associations, with the support of the confederation, to provide guidance ahead of the upcoming qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

The match schedule for Qualification Round 1 in the Concacaf region includes 30 member associations who are each scheduled to play two matches between 24 and 31 March.

FIFA has in recent weeks held virtual workshops with all member associations to ensure that they are aware of the regulations relating to COVID-19, in particular regarding player release and the possibility of playing matches in a neutral venue should it be required due to quarantine restrictions in certain countries.

Owing to the unique and challenging circumstances being faced globally, FIFA regulations allow member associations to request that an official match be played in a neutral venue, provided it is within the applicable confederation and meets a range of other criteria.

Following FIFA’s discussions with member associations, the latest match schedule for the Concacaf region qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is as follows:

FIFA will continue to work with the member associations, with the support of Concacaf, to ensure that the health and safety of players, teams, match officials and all stakeholders is given the highest priority for these matches.