Ready for whatever – JFF content ahead of key meeting to confirm revamped WCQ format

first_imgWith changes to the World Cup qualifying format expected to be determined next Monday, Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says that his administration is ready to deal with whatever is decided as it relates to the qualification format for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.Ricketts revealed on Monday that a Concacaf meeting has been set for July 27, with one of the main items on the agenda being the approval of new dates and format for the regional World Cup qualifying tournament. The qualifiers, which were originally set to begin in September, were postponed by FIFA because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes to Gold Cup, qualifying which was also suspended because of the pandemic, will also be decided at the meeting.The Final Round would have featured a six-team round-robin format from which the top three teams would qualify automatically for the 2022 tournament to be held in Qatar, and the fourth-place team entering a continental playoff. Ricketts said that Concacaf’s proposal has already received FIFA’s blessing and now awaits the green light from the regional body.“It (new qualification format) was submitted to FIFA, and FIFA had, in fact, approved it. So it is just for it to be discussed among the 40-odd presidents across Concacaf and then to accept [it],” Ricketts told The Gleaner. “There is nothing [more we can do]. We just wait and hope that it is a format that won’t hurt our chances.” Jamaica would have qualified for the Final Round under the original format, having been ranked in the top six in the region by the June deadline. POSSIBLE EXPANSION Concacaf president Victor Montagliani hinted in May that the pandemic could result in a possible expansion of the hexagonal round or the ‘hex’ as it is commonly known. Ricketts says that while he is unsure of the number of teams that will be included or excluded, he says that he does not expect the changes to pose any disadvantages to Jamaica’s chances.“I think the leaders at Concacaf are credible, so it must be some kind of a balance, an equitable format, but we are ready. We will just have to work with whatever would have been submitted and approved by FIFA,” he said. Ricketts additionally confirmed that head coach Theodore Whitmore, his technical staff, and the JFF technical committee will meet next Thursday to discuss whatever changes are confirmed and plan for the Reggae Boyz’s preparation. Meanwhile, national senior men’s football team manager Roy Simpson said that given that the Reggae Boyz have meet their respective targets for the Final Round, they are not troubled as to the path along which their World Cup qualifying journey will now take them. “We are really at a place now where we have done the work to get into the Final Round. Whatever format is introduced, we are in it because we earned our right to be in it. We anticipate whatever Concacaf comes up with. We are just eager and ready to start playing,” Simpson said.last_img