South American qualifiers suspended
CONMEBOL has announced that it will be suspending international matches which were set to take place at the end of March due concerns over a lack of player participation.
This comes as clubs deny their stars leave due to the risks and consequences, such as extended self isolation of up to 10 days, as players return from abroad during the pandemic.
CONMEBOL released the following statement:
‘The CONMEBOL Council decided to suspend the double date of the Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 scheduled for March. The decision is due to the impossibility of having all the South American players in a timely manner.’
‘FIFA will analyse the rescheduling of the date, in coordination with CONMEBOL and the member associations. Soon, the different options for holding the matches will be studied.’
‘The CONMEBOL Council decided to suspend the double round of the Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 scheduled for March. The decision follows the impossibility of counting on time and form with all South American players.’
‘FIFA will analyse the reprogramming of the round, in coordination with CONMEBOL and member associations. Soon different options will be studied for the matches.’
El Consejo de la CONMEBOL resolvió suspender la doble fecha de las Eliminatorias para Catar 2022 prevista para marzo. La decisión obedece a la imposibilidad de contar en tiempo y forma con todos los jugadores sudamericanos.
— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) March 6, 2021
What does this mean for clubs?
This is ultimately good news for clubs across the continent, who will not have to release their players, if they were ever intending to.
Premier League sides such as Manchester City and Liverpool have a number of key players in their respective squads who would have represented their countries, should they have been allowed to leave.
Liverpool boast a Brazilian contingent of goalkeeper Alisson, midfielder Fabinho and forward Roberto Firmino, whilst City have fellow Brazilians Gabriel Jesus and Ederson, in addition to Argentinian Sergio Aguero, should he have been called up.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi would have been another likely traveller. Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani and Everton’s Richarlison to name further examples.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had already criticised the prospect of losing a number of key players, and stated that the club would not be letting them fly.
“If important players – maybe six, seven, eight or nine – cannot play for 10 days, it makes no sense. They are not going to fly,” he said.
The qualifiers are now likely to be rescheduled for later in the year.
CONMEBOL has confirmed that the World Cup Qualifiers rounds that were supposed to happen this month have been postponed to dates yet to be decided (reportedly likely in October and November) https://t.co/vHazMFUUAR
— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) March 6, 2021
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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