Wednesday 25 November, 2020

Revised World Cup qualifying format could affect Reggae Boyz

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz.

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz.

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz could find it more difficult to gain qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as Concacaf stated that it will revise its qualifying format.

Concacaf made the announcement to revise its qualifying format following FIFA's decision Thursday to remove September dates from the international match calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hexagonal that determines the three direct qualifiers for North and Central America and the Caribbean was scheduled to have two games each in September, October, and November, followed by two matches apiece in March and September of 2021.

Jamaica was to have been in the six-nation hexagonal with United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, and either El Salavdor or Canada. The final berth was to have been determined by FIFA rankings in June, but matches in March and June were scrapped because of the pathogen.

“The challenges presented by postponements to the football calendar, and the incomplete FIFA rankings cycle in our confederation, means our current World Cup qualifying process has been compromised and will be changed,” Concacaf said in a statement. "We will now work with the new framework provided and liaise with FIFA to finalise a new World Cup qualification format for the Concacaf."

Among the possible formats under discussion would be having three groups of four, much like the old semifinal round. The group winners would qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar, and there would be playoff opportunities for some teams that don't finish first.

However, the U.S., Mexico, and Costa Rica would likely be placed in different groups, eliminating the most attractive qualifiers and making the group Honduras are drawn into the most difficult.

FIFA extended the June 2021 match window by seven days, allowing four matches instead of two. Football's world governing body moved the intercontinental playoffs from March 2022 to June 2022.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: