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Friday, March 4, 2011

2014 FIFA World Cup: CONCACAF to rethink qualifying system

Update: Actually CONCACAF have plenty FIFA match dates for the current system. Thanks usafan12 for pointing this out. I don't understand why Chuck Blazer is complaining...

"What I don't get vis-รก-vis Blazer's excuse is this:

Let's assume that FIFA will provide as many FIFA Match Days for this WC qualifying cycle as for 2010 (if I'm wrong, it's probably because we have more this time around). As has been discussed, in the new format we're still talking about the same 18-20 matchdays as before. Yet instead of starting qualifying in the summer of the WC-2 year (e.g. 2004, 2008), this time we'll start in the fall of the WC-3 year (2011). How exactly are there not enough FIFA days to get this new system done (with the 3rd-place playoff) before the intercontinental playoffs?

And besides, I have a hard time believing that the Caribbean majority would consider giving up the cashcow games they can get, at least in the Second Round (of 32). "

CONCACAF's new qualifying system received a big blow when FIFA decided not to give CONCACAF an extra 0.5 slot.

Now CONCACAF need four extra match days: two to decide their 3rd qualifiers (home and away matches between the second placed teams in the last groups stage) and two for the intercontinental playoffs. That's actually six, because only two of the four match dates available in October and November 2013 can be used for interncontinental playoffs as FIFA said "Sufficient time will be allowed between the home and away legs of these (intercontinental) play-offs". Most likely the first leg of the intercontinental playoffs will be played in October 2013, with the second leg scheduled for November 2013, much like the AFC - OFC playoff for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Thus CONCACAF need to finish their last group stage before September 2013. Chuck Blazer, secretary general of CONCACAF, said they will have to completely re-do their qualifying system.

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Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. Lorric here.

    I've looked at that document, and I can indeed see a problem.

    The preliminary draw is July 2011, right? So let me walk you through this.

    Sept 2011 would be the Round 1 playoffs to cut the field to 32 teams.

    October and November would provide the first 4 matchdays of Round 2.

    The you have to wait till June which has 4 match days. I've never heard of International teams playing 4 times a month, but if it's do-able, then this will work. However, they won't be able to do it here, as they'll have to play the last two match days. Then they'd have to organise the Round 3 draw and the venues, and there simply wouldn't be time anyway.

    Sept and Oct 2012 would be matchdays 1-4 of Round 3.

    March 2013 would conclude Round 3.

    Now June 2013 is make or break time for this qualifying system. If the teams can indeed play four internationals in a single month, the system can work. If not, there aren't enough dates.

    September, October and November provide the last 6 days. If the teams play 4 times in June, September would finish the group stage, October would complete CONCACAF's playoff and November would take care of the Intercontinental playoff. But if they csn't play 4 times in June, CONCACAF has a problem. Also, even if this is fine, there is no room for error at all. No games can be postponed or rearranged.

  2. They will have one two-leg series round (2), than three round-robin-home-and-away rounds (18). At last, they will have a continental playoff to decide the last spot (loser go to intercontinental playoffs).

    It's 22 dates total.


    If they want to change, I would have one suggestion. Make the second round for 30 teams, instead of 32. Divide them in 5 groups of 6. Group winners and the best 3 runners-up qualify to the last round (that would be as already planned) before the playoffs.

    There would be 20 dates total.

  3. Edgar,
    You make a great point about CONCACAF's current 2014 format -- how it needs the final SIX match dates in 2013 for the 3rd-spot playoff and the inter-confederation playoff. Even without the 3rd-spot playoff, the inter-confederation playoff would still eat up the final four match dates, which would seem very annoying to schedulers.

    I wonder if this means CONCACAF will try to figure out a way to eliminate a 3rd-spot playoff. Under the current format, they could use the (ugly) format where the "best" 2nd place team automatically qualifies, and the other 2nd place team automatically heads to the inter-confederation playoff.

    Alternatively, if CONCACAF goes back to a single final group (whether it's a 6-team or 8-team group), in which case the 3rd spot is determined without a playoff.

    Whatever CONCACAF does do, I would prefer the group stage to start with fewer than 32 teams -- either 24, 20, 18, or 16 (but more than 12). There always seems to be a huge dropoff in ranking points around the 20-24 positions (for February 2011, #20 Barbados has 183 points and #21 St. Vincent and the Grenadines has 110 points -- a 40% drop in points).