Conmebol awaits FIFA decision on elimination for coronavirus outbreak

ASUNCIÓN, Mar 10 (Reuters) – Conmebol said on Tuesday that it awaits a decision by FIFA on a possible postponement of the start of the South American tie for the 2022 World Cup due to the expansion of the new coronavirus in the region.

The qualifier in South America should start on March 26 with the dispute of matches in Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. The first double date of the tournament would be completed with five other matches on March 31.

“In light of frequent inquiries about upcoming playoffs, Conmebol recalls that they are a FIFA competition and awaits its decision,” said the governing body of South American football, without adding further details.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation agreed on Monday to postpone the March qualifying matches due to the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China.

Various sporting events have been delayed or suspended in Europe, where the virus is spreading rapidly.

In South America, Uruguay, Bolivia and Venezuela are the only countries that have not reported cases of coronavirus.

The tie qualifies four teams directly for the Qatar World Cup, while the fifth will have to play a playoff with a team from another region.

Regarding the dispute of regional tournaments such as the Copa Libertadores or the Copa Sudamericana, the Conmebol said that “it will analyze in detail each case and how it affects its competitions and will abide by the decisions of the health authorities, always respecting local regulations.”

(Report by Daniela Desantis, edited by Javier Leira)