Next month’s opening 2022 World Cup qualifiers for Africa are set to be delayed because a host of stadiums lack Confederation of African Football approval, sources told AFP on Tuesday.
According to sources at several football federations in Africa, CAF is planning to postpone the first two days of qualifying from June to September.
“The CAF emergency committee validated the decision on Monday, we are awaiting the validation of the executive committee” on 15 May, a federation president told AFP.
Other leading figures within African football have confirmed the decision.
When questioned, CAF did not confirm the postponement and announced that it would communicate on the subject “during the day”. The six qualifying matchdays would be staggered two-by-two in September, October and November.
According to the same sources the play-offs will take place in March after the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) in Cameroon, itself initially scheduled for 2021 but pushed back to 2022 by the coronavirus pandemic.
The last-minute postponement has been prompted by the absence of stadiums approved by CAF in 22 of the confederation’s 54 member countries.
Countries including Mali, Burkina Faso or 2019 CAN finalists Senegal would not be able to play their home matches in June.
There is also no approved stadium in Sierra Leone, who are due to play a delayed CAN qualifier against Benin in June.