World Cup qualifying and Champions League moved

The Oceania Football Confederation has rescheduled tournaments for the rest of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

Vanuatu
The Vanuatu national team and the other OFC nations will play their World Cup qualifiers in 2021. (Photo credit: Vanuatu Daily Post)

“The committee approved a number of changes during their online conference last week that will impact this year’s OFC Champions League, various youth tournaments and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers,” the OFC writes in a press release.

One of the changes being made is the that of the World Cup qualifiers for 2022. Originally set for this August, the OFC has now asked FIFA for permission to move it to March 2021, because of the challenges around the Coronavirus.

“Under the proposal, OFC’s 11 Member Associations would be split into two groups based on their FIFA ranking and would play matches in the March and June International Match Calendar windows. Each group would be based in a central location,” OFC writes.

“The top two teams from each group would advance to the semi-finals in September before the final in October. The semi-finals and final would be played under a home-and-away format.”

The winner would then face a nation from another continent for a place at the World Cup in a home and away leg.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said the OFC will be ready when the time comes to reopen.

“We look forward to international football returning in our region when it is logistically possible,” Castillo said in the press release.

“We will be ready to roll out our competitions when border restrictions are lifted and we can do our best to ensure the health and safety of our football community.”

Champions League

The OFC Champions League also has to be played out, with the knockout stages still remaining.

Eight teams are still in for a spot at the Club World Cup and a chance to call themselves the best team in Oceania. The OFC are planning a tournament held at a single place over 12 days, if borders reopen and travel restrictions get lifted.

“A further decision regarding the Champions League, including when and where a potential finals tournament would take place, will be made by the Executive Committee on August 31,” the OFC writes.

Hienghene trophy celebration
Hienghène players and staff celebrate with the OFC Champions League trophy (Photo credit: OFC Media/Shane Wenzlick/phototek.nz)

January busy month

January is set to be a month full of football, on different surfaces. The OFC U19 Championship in Samoa has been moved to January from October, while the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup will once again be hosted by Tahiti in the same month.

Tahiti will also host the OFC U16 Women’s Championship in  September, while the Men’s U16 tournament will be held in Fiji in April.

Tahiti beach soccer
The Tahiti Beach Soccer National Team (Photo credit: La Dépêche de Tahiti/http://www.ladepeche.pf)

Cancelled

Sadly, some tournaments have also been cancelled.

These are the Women’s Youth Development Tournament 2020, originally scheduled for May this year, and the OFC Futsal Champions League, set for December this year.

Previously it has also been known that the OFC Nations Cup was cancelled and not moved. Here’s the OFC’s reasoning for that.

Author: Ola Bjerkevoll

A passion for everything football and especially in Oceania. Owner of Football in Oceania.

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