New Zealand striker Chris Wood has said that a nine-team tournament next year to decide which Pacific team will reach the intercontinental playoffs for a place in the World Cup final could affect player well-being due to of his tight schedule. Oceania does not have an automatic place at the World Cup. The winner of the March 14-30 competition in Qatar will face the CONCACAF region’s fourth-placed team, which includes teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
FIFA has granted the Oceania Football Confederation a one-day extension of the March international window, which is scheduled to run from March 21 to 29, to allow teams to call up overseas-based players from March 21 to March 29. last round of group matches. But Wood, who plays for Premier League side Burnley, said some players could also face a club-to-country battle due to the competition’s format, with group matches taking place before the international window.
“I think it’s ridiculous because as a team we won’t be able to bring in some of our best players. We’re looking at up to 16 players who won’t be able to make it for the first two games,” Wood told the LancsLive website. “I don’t think FIFA should ever have allowed us to be in this situation. It could take away a lot of our players, which in theory takes away the competition and is OFC’s best for the World Cup.
“I would expect FIFA to take a closer look and come up with a solution. It’s not a good format as we speak. I hope they can change it because the welfare of players is not good if you make people play five games in 13 days. ” New Zealand were the last country in the region to qualify for the World Cup when they appeared in South Africa in 2010.
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