CONCACAF chief Victor Montagliani said the coronavirus outbreak will likely mean the end of the Hex, six-team World Cup qualifying format used by CONCACAF.
With the coronavirus outbreak causing havoc on sport and soccer schedules all over the world, qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup is likely to be impacted as FIFA is forced to mend the international calendar.
In the CONCACAF region, which includes North and Central America and the Caribbean, the top six countries in the FIFA rankings qualify for a spot in the Hex.
Top three teams in the Hex earn World Cup places with the fourth-placed team advancing to a playoff.
Montagliani admitted that it is likely to change.
“On the balance of probabilities, in terms of what has happened so far and what will likely continue to happen, the current World Cup format will have to be changed,” Montagliani said.
“Which means, ultimately, that the Hex will have to be changed into some other form.”
“Obviously it will be bigger, but what the number is, I don’t know until we have a calendar.”
Mexico, United States, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras, and El Salvador are the current top six CONCACAF nations in the FIFA rankings.
Canada is the seventh and is likely to benefit first from the expanded format.
“You’re going to have 35 countries and until we know from FIFA how many windows we have it is going to be very hard for me to say it is this,” Montagliani said.
“Yes, you are going to have t use FIFA rankings to start somewhere because that’s the reality of our confederation and in terms of having 35 (teams) you are going to have to do some sort of elimination process and then eventually get into some group stage process.”
“But I don’t know that yet until we know what the FIFA calendar is going to look like.”