Samoa to host Oceania U19 football at the end of the year

Samoa is set to host the men’s Oceania Football Confederation (O.F.C.) U-19 Championship at the end of the year after it was postponed from July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Football Federation of Samoa will look to host the event no later than January 2021, but not before October 2020 according to a press release from O.F.C.

The postponement was decided by the Confederation’s Executive Committee, with more exact dates to be reviewed on July 31 after more information on border restrictions and sporting activities is made available by governments in the region.

Teams from all 11 O.F.C. member associations (Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Vanuatu), are to participate in the tournament, which will not include a four-team qualifying stage for the first time.

The two finalists earn the right to represent Oceania at the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia.

COVID-19 has caused adjustments to all O.F.C. tournaments in 2020, with the final stages of the Champions League postponed until at least September, the Nations Cup being cancelled and other tournaments being postponed indefinitely.

Confederation General Secretary Franck Castillo said in the release that COVID-19 had created some unique challenges for football.

“While our top priority for the football community is safety, we need to continue to evaluate our options for this year and assess what our competitions may look like,” Castillo said.

“We are looking forward to football returning and will only do so when it is safe for all of the participants.”

He said the status of all tournaments was subject to change depending on border restrictions going forward.

“We are facing a range of challenges due to coronavirus and this situation changes regularly,” Castillo said.

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