Bermuda in line for return to action

The Bermuda football team could make a return to action as early as October after Concacaf published updates to fixtures for the 2022 World Cup, Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup.

After a disrupted year because of Covid-19, the release published yesterday, outlined an updated calendar starting with a new format for the Concacaf qualifiers for a place at the World Cup, to be held in Qatar.

The first round, consisting of 30 teams will be played between the Concacaf member Associations ranked sixth to 35th based on the Fifa rankings as of July 16, this year. Bermuda are ranked 22nd.

Teams will be drawn into six groups of five in a seeded draw. The six highest ranked teams, El Salvador, Canada, Curaçao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago will be pre-seeded into groups.

Each team will play every other team in their group once, playing a total of four matches; two home and two away. These games will be played in the Fifa international windows of October and November this year.

At the end of the first round the six group winners will progress to the second round. There, teams will play home and away in a direct elimination format in March, with the three winners progressing to the final round.

The final round will see those three teams join the Concacaf member Associations top-five ranked teams consisting of Mexico, United States, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras.

The eight teams will play each other home and away, with the top three finishing teams qualifying directly to the World Cup. The fourth-placed team will qualify for the Intercontinental Play-off, scheduled to be played in June 2022.

Meanwhile, the Road to Gold Cup qualifiers, scheduled for March and June, have also changed in format ahead of the Gold Cup taking place in July.

Having been relegated to League B of the Nations League, Bermuda were scheduled to face Bahamas or French Guiana in the second round of qualification for a place at the Gold Cup.

However, because of the suspension of fixtures, Concacaf are now working towards creating a centralised Gold Cup preliminary round for those teams who were due to play in the qualification stage including Bermuda.

This will take place in the US in the week before the start of the Gold Cup group stages.

Concacaf also confirmed the second edition of the Nations League will begin in June 2022.