FIFA changes playoff format for last 2 places at World Cup

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FIFA has changed the format of the World Cup qualifiers for the intercontinental playoffs to be played alone on a neutral court.

The winners of the matches will receive the last two places at the World Championships in Qatar next year.

FIFA cited “unprecedented disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” when scheduling games for June, more than two months later than before the pandemic. In singles, teams also do not cross multiple time zones for two-match matches.

The host of the two games, which will take place on June 13 and 14, has not been announced.

Teams from Asia, South America, Oceania and the North American region will take part in the playoffs. Three play-off teams are to be announced by the end of March. The decision to join Asia is due in the regional playoffs just days before the intercontinental playoffs.

Bilateral intercontinental playoffs were introduced at the 1986 World Cup and generally require long haul flights.

FIFA will hold the draw for the FIFA World Cup on 1 April in Doha. At that time, only 30 of the 32 qualifying matches will be known, and the intercontinental playoffs are yet to come.

The draw for the intercontinental playoffs will take place on 26 November.

The FIFA World Cup kicks off on November 21st and the final on December 18th.



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