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South American World Cup qualifiers set for triple matchdays

Aug 07, 2021

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Aug 7: South America's 2022 World Cup qualifying schedule will feature two triple matchdays in
September and October to make up for COVID-19 disruptions, world football governing body FIFA said on Friday.
The move follows the postponement of two double matchdays in March because of coronavirus travel restrictions in
several countries.
"Taking into account the specific circumstances faced, the bureau of the [FIFA] council decided exceptionally and only
for South America to facilitate the playing of an extra match in each of these windows by adding two additional release
days," the entity said in a statement.
It means that, including travel time, players will now have up to 11 days with their national teams, a change that is
unlikely to be welcomed by clubs.
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) previously said the fixture tweak was needed to ensure the
qualifiers were completed in time for the World Cup, to be played in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 next
The top four teams at the end of the South American qualifying tournament will earn a direct World Cup berth while the
fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff over two legs, slated for next June.
"The addition of two days will ensure sufficient rest and preparation time between matches ... while ensuring a fair
competition as well as a prompter return to their clubs of the players involved," the statement added.
The exact dates for the September and October qualifiers have yet to be confirmed.
Source: Xinhua