October 1, 2023

OFC: We considered other nations for World Cup qualifiers

The Oceania Football Confederation confirm they did look at other options for the World Cup qualifying hosts.

Vanuatu’s Dominique Fred comes in hard on Solomon Island’s Jerry Donga at the 2016 OFC Nations Cup in Papua New Guinea (Photo: Shane Wenzlick/Phototek)

Asked directly by Football in Oceania the OFC confirms other options were pursued before they landed on Qatar as hosts for the OFC World Cup qualifiers, set to be played in March.

“Yes other countries were looked at to host the tournament” the OFC Media Office wrote in an email to Football in Oceania.

The OFC do not specify which other countries were considered.

“Qatar was the choice for a number of reasons, including the situation around travel restrictions and ability to successfully host international matches.”

The tournament will be without Samoa and American Samoa, who have pulled out due to travel restrictions surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. Tonga and the Cook Islands will face off in a single match to determine who advances to the group stage of the qualifiers.

In the group stages the teams will play each other once, before the top two progress to the one-legged semi-finals and final.

Asked whether the OFC will compensate the participating nations for their travels and more expensive accommodations, with the tournament taking place further away than normal, the OFC confirmed FIFA have grants in place for this situation.

“Member Associations are eligible to receive grants from FIFA under the FIFA Forward Programme, including costs for national team travel,” the OFC Media Office wrote.

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