CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani says Canada like many others in the Region will likely have to play its first home World Cup qualifying matches at a neutral site due to pandemic-related restrictions.
Border issues and the need for quarantine complicate a qualifying schedule that has already been pushed back several times due to COVID-19. The Canadian men are slated to play their first home qualifying match in late March against Bermuda.
"Listen, it's not going to be as easy as it was before when you just got on a plane and you play or you play at home," Montagliani told reporters Wednesday. "Obviously no fans for probably the vast majority of these games, if not all of them. There'll be neutral venues for some of them. Canada, I would think, would be a neutral venue. Although it would be a home game, it would still be a neutral venue.
"It's World Cup qualifying so it's the responsibility of each federation to sort their things out. It's not really a CONCACAF event. However, having said that, we're helping and facilitating as much as possible to help our federations from a logistical standpoint to ensure that March goes off as smoothly as possible."
Canada is scheduled to open its qualifying campaign on March 25th in Group B play at home to No. 169 Bermuda, the first of a possible 20 matches the Canadian men will have to play if they are to book their ticket to Qatar in 2022.
The Canadians then play March 28th at the 193rd-ranked Cayman Islands and June 5th at No. 200 Aruba before wrapping up first-round play June 8 at home to No. 141st Suriname.
Canada needs to win its group to advance to the second round of qualifying.