Soccer - New Zealand's Wood unhappy with World Cup qualifying schedule


FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Soccer Football - Men - Group B - New Zealand v Honduras - Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan - July 25, 2021. Chris Wood of New Zealand REUTERS/Henry Romero

(Reuters) - New Zealand striker Chris Wood said a nine-team tournament next year to decide which Oceanian side will reach the intercontinental playoff for a spot at the World Cup finals could affect player welfare due to its tight schedule.

Oceania does not have an automatic place at the World Cup. The winner of the March 14-30 competition in Qatar will face the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF region, which features sides from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

FIFA granted the Oceania Football Confederation a one-day extension to the March international window, which is due to run from March 21 to 29, to allow teams to call up overseas-based players from the final round of group matches onwards.

But Wood, who plays for Premier League side Burnley, said some players could also face a club-against-country battle because of the format of the competition, with group games taking place before the international window.

"I think it's ridiculous because as a squad we won't be able to get some of our best players there. We're looking at up to 16 players who won't be able to get there for the first couple of games," Wood told the LancsLive website.

"I don't think FIFA should have ever allowed us to be in this situation. It could take away a lot of our players, which in theory takes away from the competition and who is the best from OFC going to the World Cup.

"I'd expect FIFA to look at it more in depth and come up with a solution around it. It's not a great format as we speak. Hopefully they can change it because player welfare isn't right if you're making people play five games in 13 days."

New Zealand were the last country from the region to qualify for the World Cup when they appeared in South Africa in 2010.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by William)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Football

Soccer-Landmark U.S. pay deal may inspire sponsors too
Soccer-Real Madrid sign 360 million euro Bernabeu deal with Sixth Street
SEA Games: Malaysia lose 0-1 to Vietnam in football semi-finals
Soccer-Giroud omitted from France Nations League squad
Soccer-Milan on brink of title as Inter hope to spring final-day surprise
Soccer-Forest fan jailed for head-butting Sheffield Utd skipper Sharp
Soccer-Qatar World Cup to feature female referees in first for tournament
Soccer-Tottenham Women forward Ubogagu handed nine-month suspension for anti-doping violation
Soccer-Wales squad for World Cup playoff and Nations League
Soccer-'Get used to it' - women's football is the future, says Barca's Oshoala

Others Also Read