All tickets of the Jordan vs South Sudan will be refunded following the unexpected cancellation of the match.
Monday’s qualifying game between Jordan and South Sudan will no longer go ahead as planned, the FIFA Bureau for Men’s Senior Tournaments declared, after members of the South Sudan delegation tested positive for Covid-19.
South Sudan will now be forced to forfeit a 3-0 win to Jordan as a result.
The easy win for Jordan has secured the team a spot in Qatar’s 2021 FIFA Arab Cup in November, joining Oman and Sudan in the list of single-leg play-offs winners this week.
FIFA’s decision to cancel the game was made to protect the health of the players and everyone involved in the tournament, the organisation said in a statement, adding that it was based on article 5.6 of the competition regulations (“force majeure”).
“Protecting the health and safety of everyone involved in the FIFA Arab Cup remains a top priority with a comprehensive programme based on the World Health Organisation’s risk-based approach being implemented in coordination with the host country,” the statement read.
“FIFA and the local organisers deeply regret this unfortunate situation and wish the delegates of South Sudan a speedy recovery.”
Following health protocols established by Qatar’s health ministry, all delegations were tested for Covid-19 upon arriving.
Consequently, seven players and one team member of the South Sudan team tested positive after two rounds of PCR tests, with another five players receiving a reactive test result, FIFA announced.
This means the five players were likely incubating the virus, according to Qatar’s health ministry. In addition, seven other players had close contact with those who tested positive, leading to the isolation of a total of 19 players for safety measures.
“There are no cases presenting severe symptoms and everyone who tested positive is being monitored and receiving the best possible medical care for free through the Qatar national healthcare system,” FIFA added.
All tickets for the cancelled match will be fully refunded, the organisation assured.
The next qualification match will take place on Tuesday, June 22, between Mauritania and Yemen. The winner will join Jordan, Oman, and Sudan in the tournament next November.
The single knockout fixtures will continue to take place in Doha until 25 June 2021, and will include the 14 lowest-ranked countries (of the 23 participating sides) on the April 2021 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
The remaining qualifiers will determine the next five participants in the tournament.
The last four matches will see Mauritania (101) vs Yemen (145), Lebanon (93) vs Djibouti (183), Palestine (104) vs Comoros (131), and Bahrain (99) vs Kuwait (148).
All matches will take place in either Khalifa International Stadium or Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium at 8 PM Qatar time.
Winners of the remaining matches will join Sudan, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Algeria in the FIFA Arab Cup final phase from 30 November to 18 December in Qatar.
Arab Cup Schedule
Qatar will kick off the tournament on November 30, facing the winner of the Bahrain-Kuwait match in the qualifiers at 1pm Doha time.
Meanwhile, Iraq will play in the same round with the current qualifier winner, Oman.
In the second round, host Qatar will face Oman again on December 3 at 4pm Doha time, while Iraq will play with the winner from Bahrain and Kuwait.
Qatar’s national team will then meet its Iraqi counterpart at 10pm on December 6 and the winner of the Kuwait and Bahrain match will face off Oman in the same round.
Group B will see Tunisia meeting the winner from the Yemen and Mauritania match, and the UAE will meet Syria in the first round on November 30.
On December 3, Tunisia will face Syria and the UAE will go head to head with the winner of the Yemen and Mauritania match in the second round. On December 6, Tunisia will face the UAE, and Syria will play with the winner of the Yemen and Mauritania game in the third round.
For group C, Morocco will play with the winner of the Palestine and Comoros match, while Saudi Arabia will face Jordan in the first round on December 1.
In the second round on December 4, Morocco will play against Jordan, and Saudi Arabia will kick off with the winner from Palestine and Comoros, FIFA announced.
In the third round on December 7, Morocco will play Saudi Arabia, and Jordan will face the winner from Palestine and Comoros.
Lastly, Group D will see Algeria playing Sudan, and Egypt will battle with the winner of the Lebanon and Djibouti match in the first round on December 1.
For the second round, Algeria will go head to head with the winner of the Lebanon and Djibouti, while Egypt will face off with Sudan on December 4.
The third round on December 7 will see rivals Algeria and Egypt go head to head. Meanwhile, Sudan will face off with the winner from Lebanon and Djibouti game.
The long-awaited tournament will be held at the end of 2021 and is seen as a vital opportunity to test operations and facilities a year before Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup.
Matches will take place at six Qatar stadiums, most of which are complete, while others are in the final stages of construction.
The finals of the Arab Cup 2021 and the 2022 World Cup are set to take place on the same date, 18 December, but one year apart. This also comes in conjunction with Qatar’s National Day.
This week, Somalia, South Sudan, and Libya were kicked out in the single knockout fixtures, leaving 8 more nations to fight for a spot in the finals.