The OFC Executive Committee has decided upon significant changes to the football calendar for the first quarter of 2021.
Border restrictions and limited flights throughout the Pacific due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to pose a challenge for OFC. There is also quarantine or managed isolation protocols in place for international travellers in 10 of our 11 Member Associations.
Taking this into account, the Executive Committee has recommended to delay the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying process for Oceania until June 2021.
OFC will now work with FIFA to agree upon the World Cup qualifying process and will continue to collaborate with its Member Associations to determine the best steps forward.
The Qualifying Stage for the OFC Champions League 2021 was scheduled to be played in Samoa in January and the group stage was due to follow in February. However, the competition will no longer begin any earlier than July 1.
The OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup that was set to be played in Tahiti in January will be rescheduled and is expected to take place no later than June 6.
That tournament will decide which country will represent OFC at next year’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Russia in August and June 6 is FIFA’s deadline to confirm participants for the event.
A decision on the men’s OFC U-20 Championship that is due to be played in Samoa in January will be made when the Executive Committee meets in December.
That tournament has already been rescheduled from its original date in July 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said the overarching situation remained tough to navigate given the border closures.
“We are doing our best to continually communicate with our Member Associations and we appreciate their support and understanding during this period of regional inactivity,” Castillo said.
“We are all looking forward to the return of football in the future when it is safe for us to conduct tournaments.”