The governing body for football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) confirmed Tuesday that 2022 Men’s World Cup qualifiers due to take place in October and November would be postponed until 2021 because of COVID-19.
CONCACAF said in a statement the games would now take place next March, saying the decision had been taken in conjunction with world governing body FIFA.
“Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision,” CONCACAF said.
“Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult.”
CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani had signaled the probable postponement in remarks last week, saying the games were unlikely to take place in October.
Under a new-look CONCACAF qualifying format unveiled last month, 30 teams have been placed into six groups with the group winners advancing to three two-leg play-off games originally set for March.
The winners of those ties would join the final eight-team round-robin group for home and away matches starting in June 2021 under the current schedule.
The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras are already into the final round by virtue of world rankings.
The three top teams among the last eight would advance to Qatar 2022 with the fourth-place team facing a playoff against a squad from another region in June 2022 for a final spot.