CONMEBOL cancels March World Cup Qualifiers

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South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has announced its Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches this month have been suspended, with European clubs refusing to release players due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FIFA last month extended temporary amendments related to the release of players for international matches, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FIFA Council said this would “provide additional flexibility regarding the release of players for national team duty and the registration of players with clubs in competitions that remain disrupted by the pandemic.”

Under the amendment, club teams can refuse to release their players for international matches should there be a mandatory period of quarantine or self-isolation of at least five days on their return.

This represented a major issue for South American nations, as several countries would have required players to quarantine on return should they participate in the qualifiers.

EPA-EFE/Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

Several major European clubs had already announced their intention to refuse to release players for matches, which were due to be held on March 25 and 30.

CONMEBOL held a meeting on the situation yesterday, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino joining a second discussion today.

A decision was made to suspend the matches to a later date.

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