International football matches might not resume until 2021, claims FIFA Vice President and President of the governing body for North America, Victor Montagliani. Before going forward with its plans for international matches, Montagliani said that FIFA would give club competitions a chance to resume after the coronavirus pandemic situation is in complete control.
Victor Montagliani, who is the President of CONCACAF, has reportedly been heading a FIFA committee that is working to formulate plans to deal implications of football being brought to a standstill due to the rapid outbreak across the globe. FIFA has already scrapped its international matches scheduled between March and June. Montagliani notes, the matches scheduled for later in 2020 could also be cancelled.
Victor Montagliani told AP, "I personally think that might be a bit of a challenge, not so much because of just the health issues around the world and the various degrees of preparedness, but also committing to international travel as soon as we come back."
“I think that domestic football is a priority. September is still in the books, but I would garner to say that I’m not sure it’s there on solid ground the way things are trending right now,” he added.
Montagliani cast further doubts that football could resume as normal after the pandemic is controlled. The CONCACAF president noted that the initial games after lockdown will likely be played in empty stadiums and that it would be a phased approach by FIFA as well as the continental governing bodies.
Just like FIFA, UEFA, CONEMBOL and CONCACAF will be forced to revamp their annual calendars to make room for the currently halted domestic leagues. Montagliani reiterated FIFA's commitment to its scheduled tournaments and matches but insisted that completing the domestic leagues is its priority.
“We’re likely going to be having to seriously look at reformatting some of our events. We’re committed to our final four (in the Nations League). But we have other events that we have to probably look at reformatting, whether it’s some of our youth competitions, even our World Cup qualifying, where we’re going to have to, in the balance of probabilities, look at how that would work in a situation where the calendar there is now less than what we expected it to be," Montagliani said.
Last month, FIFA president Gianni Infantino stated that FIFA is considering to postpone the revamped 2021 Club World Cup tournament to 2021 or 2023 in order to accommodate EURO and Copa America in 2021.