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OFC tournaments postponed

The Stade Numa-Daly in New Caledonia ahead of last year's OFC Champions League final. Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

OFC’s Executive Committee has confirmed the postponement of three OFC tournaments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The men’s OFC U-19 Championship, the OFC Champions League 2020 and the OFC U-17 Women’s Championship have all been affected.

The men’s OFC U-19 Championship, that was scheduled to be played in Samoa in July, will not be held before October 2020 but no later than January 2021.

The top two teams from this tournament will earn a place at the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia as OFC’s representatives.

The OFC Champions League 2020 quarter-finals have been postponed until September 2020 at the earliest and OFC remains in regular contact with the eight clubs that have qualified for the knockout stages.

The winner of the Champions League will represent OFC at the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup that is scheduled to be played in Qatar in December.

Potential new dates for the OFC U-19 Championship and the OFC Champions League 2020 will be reviewed on July 31 when governments in the Pacific have provided more information on border restrictions and sports activities.

The OFC U-17 Women’s Championship was meant to be played in Tahiti in April, following a previous delay from December due to the measles epidemic in the Pacific; a further decision regarding that tournament will be made on June 2.

The winner of the OFC U-17 Women’s Championship is scheduled to attend the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India, which has been postponed until next year.

A decision on all other OFC competitions for 2020 will be made on July 31.

OFC continues to work with FIFA regarding the qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said the coronavirus pandemic had created some unique challenges for football.

“While our top priority for the football community is safety, we need to continue to evaluate our options for this year and assess what our competitions may look like,” Castillo said.

“We are looking forward to football returning and will only do so when it is safe for all of the participants. We will continue to do our part in stopping the spread of coronavirus.”

On March 9, OFC suspended all of its football activities in the Pacific until at least May 6.

On April 14, OFC announced that the OFC Nations Cup 2020 would be cancelled due to coronavirus.

All Member Associations within OFC have closed their offices with many staff working from home due to COVID-19. A range of countries in the Pacific are also in lockdown.

Castillo said the status of OFC tournaments remained subject to change depending on future border restrictions.

“We are facing a range of challenges due to coronavirus and this situation changes regularly.”

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