Bermuda qualifiers delayed because of Covid-19

  • Bermuda coach Kyle Lightbourne

    Bermuda coach Kyle Lightbourne

Bermuda will have to wait until March to start their 2020 World Cup qualifiers after further delays to the regional football competition because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coach Kyle Lightbourne’s side were set to take on Canada away on October 8, Aruba at home on October 13, Surinam away on November 13 before their final group match against Cayman Islands at home on November 17.

However, Fifa and Concacaf announced yesterday that international dates scheduled for next month and November involving teams in the Concacaf region were too soon in the current climate.

“Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision,” Fifa said in a statement.

“Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult.”

The South American qualifiers, which were scheduled to take place in March this year, will not start until at least next month, while the Asian qualifiers, where the second round is under way, will not restart until March.

The start of qualifying in the small Oceania confederation has also been delayed while Europe and Africa, which have shorter competitions, have not been affected.

The Concacaf competition was initially due to start in September and the original format has already been changed to adapt to the shorter timetable.

Under the new format, 30 teams will take part in the first round, which has been divided into six groups of five, with teams playing each other once instead of twice.

The six group winners will then take part in three two-leg play-off ties and the winners of those will join the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Jamaica in an eight-team final group.

Those teams will play each other home and away with the top three nations qualifying directly for the finals in Qatar and the fourth-placed team going into an intercontinental play-off for another place at the World Cup.

Concacaf is now working to finalise a new schedule, Fifa said.

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Published Sep 8, 2020 at 3:49 pm (Updated Sep 8, 2020 at 5:06 pm)

Bermuda qualifiers delayed because of Covid-19

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