Sunday 25 October, 2020

JFF cancels October friendlies as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz and the United States compete in a semi-final match of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup  in Nashville, Tennessee. The United States won 3-1.

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz and the United States compete in a semi-final match of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup in Nashville, Tennessee. The United States won 3-1.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), in conjunction with its counterparts from the United States, has decided to forgo two friendly internationals, which were being negotiated to be played in October.

The JFF said in a statement on Monday that "Jamaica was in negotiations to play the United States and a top Central American team in the USA, but the continued rise in the numbers of COVID-19 has forced the postponement of both games, for health and safety reasons."

The JFF further added that it will continue to seek opportunities to play games in preparation for the qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The Reggae Boyz, however, still have enough time to prepare for the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers as the team wasn't scheduled to play any qualifiers until September of 2021.

The  Concacaf World Cup qualifiers were scheduled for the October and November international windows but were postponed due to the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The October and November windows were scheduled to be used for the opening matches of first round of qualifying, in which 30 teams had been divided into six groups of five. The group winners would then advance to a playoff round, with the winner of Group A playing the winner of Group F, the Group B winner playing the top team from Group E and Group C winner squaring off against the top team in Group D. Each matchup will be contested over two legs, with the three winners advancing to the final round to join the five top-ranked teams in the region.

At present, Concacaf has no plans to alter the format, but it is unclear what effect the postponement of the initial first round matches will have on the remainder of the schedule. The most likely scenario is that the first round will last from March of 2021 until the first half of the June 2021 window. The playoff round will then take place during the second portion of the June window, leaving the final round octagonal to begin in September of 2021.

Jamaica, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras are already through into the octagonal due to their FIFA rankings.

There has been no competitive football in Jamaica since the JFF suspended all leagues on March 12 as part of efforts to help and contain the coronavirus pandemic.

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