Concacaf will make changes to World Cup 2022 qualifying format

The FIFA Council approved changes to the men's international calendar to take into account the cancellation of windows in March and June 2020 and the current uncertainty about international play because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Three changes impact Concacaf and World Cup 2022 qualifying:

1. There will be no games in Concacaf (as well as Asia, Africa and Oceania) in September 2020;
2. The June 2021 window will expanded an extra week to allow teams to play four games instead of two;
3. The intercontinental playoffs to determine the final 2022 World Cup qualifiers will moved to June 2022 from March 2022.

The scheduling of Qatar 2022 in the late fall fortuitously gives FIFA an extra six months to complete World Cup qualifying. In the case of Concacaf, the window changes approved on Thursday give it the same number of dates it had over the next two years, but it confirmed that it will indeed change the World Cup 2022 qualifying format previously approved.

Concacaf planned to continue with the six-team Hexagonal, this time involving the top six ranked Concacaf teams in the June 2020 FIFA rankings, and add an extra playoff round, pitting the fourth-place team in the Hexagonal against the winner of a lower-tier tournament involving the rest of Concacaf. The winner of that series was scheduled to then compete in the intercontinental playoffs.

In a statement, Concacaf said the qualifying process "has been compromised and will be changed" due to the challenges presented by postponements of the March, June and September windows and what it described as "the incomplete FIFA rankings cycle."

Besides World Cup qualifying, Concacaf has its own events to deal with. It must reschedule:

1. 2020 Concacaf Nations League semifinals and final (originally scheduled for June 2020);
2. 2021 Gold Cup 2021 qualifiers (originally scheduled for March and June 2020).

In 2021, Concacaf will hold the Gold Cup (July 2-25) and in 2022, it is slated to begin qualifying for the next Concacaf Nations League.
Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications