FIFA approves September start for CONMEBOL WC qualifiers

The FIFA Council has approved the plans by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) to begin its 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September.

In a statement, FIFA however added that the September start remained subject to “continued monitoring” of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in the region.

The intercontinental playoff has been postponed from March to June 2022, FIFA said.

The South American qualifiers were postponed just days before their scheduled start in March because of the global health crisis, which has claimed more than 4.5 lakh lives across the world thus far. CONMEBOL has since stated that it hopes to begin the tournament in September.

The FIFA Council also supported a pan-Arab tournament to be played in 2021: an invitational competition for men’s national teams that will be contested by Arab nations from Africa and Asia.

It will involve home-based players only and be played outside the international match calendar. The tournament, which will be held in Qatar from December 1-18, 2021, will be delivered by the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC and will allow the organisers to use facilities and run operations that are also planned for the subsequent FIFA World Cup 2022, said the sport’s governing body.