The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have confirmed that Australia’s final four FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ – Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 matches will be played in a centralised format from 31 May to 15 June 2021.
The decision to play all remaining Group B qualifiers featuring Australia, Nepal, Jordan, Kuwait, and Chinese Taipei in a centralised format is due to the evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and new travel and quarantine restrictions in several Participating Member Associations.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said Football Australia has signalled its intent to AFC to play a constructive role in the resumption of international football in Asia.
“With FIFA having expanded the June window to allow for international matches from 31 May to 15 June, we will need to utilise that period to complete our remaining Group B fixtures prior to the June 15 deadline,” Johnson said.
“We remain committed to the restart of national team football in a COVID-safe manner as soon as possible, and will work with AFC and FIFA, as well as the Football Associations of Nepal, Jordan, Kuwait, and Chinese Taipei, to play out our remaining qualifiers in a suitable location.”
Football Australia also extends its recognition to the All Nepal Football Association, who had been working diligently with a view to hosting match activity in March 2021.
Football Australia welcomes ongoing communication and cooperation between Group B participants, AFC and FIFA ahead of the centralised qualifiers in May/June.