CONMEBOL to play World Cup qualifiers in September

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South America's soccer body CONMEBOL announced on Friday the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played in September with the same format.

The qualifying rounds for the next World Cup were scheduled to start in March, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of the first two games of the tournament.

After a meeting by videoconference between representatives of all members and federation leaders, CONMEBOL stated that the dispute for a spot in Qatar 2022 will start in the first week of September and will maintain the current format, with all the teams playing each other home and away.

FIFA said last week that they are evaluating the suspension of all international matches until next year as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Victor Montagliani, a FIFA vice president and the head of CONCACAF, admitted this week that most national team matches may not be held until 2021 due to travel restrictions.

CONMEBOL avoided setting a date to resume continental club tournaments, such as the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, but affirmed its intention of playing all the programmed matches if the public health situation allows it.

"The priority remains to preserve the health of the large family of South American football and, therefore, due to the current recommendations of the international health authorities and each country," CONMEBOL said in a statement.

During the meeting, CONMEBOL also confirmed the Copa America for the months of June and July of 2021.

The continental tournament was initially scheduled for this year, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

The competition will be played in Argentina and Colombia, with the presence of the ten teams from South America and Qatar and Australia as guest teams.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.