The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has warned teams will face a forfeit if they are unable to fulfil any upcoming qualifying fixtures for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The governing body has released guidelines ahead of the resumption of the qualification tournament.
Matches are set to take place from today through until November 17 – a year after the last qualifiers were held.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus, fixtures scheduled for March were postponed and the CAF has set out rules that aim to avoid further disruption.
According to the rules, a match must go ahead if the team has at least 11 players, including a goalkeeper, and four substitutes.
The CAF said a team would lose the match 2-0 should they fail to have the minimum number of players required or cannot get to the host country due to “any travel or other restriction relating to COVID-19”.
All fixtures are expected to be played behind closed doors.
The CAF rules come into force after four friendlies involving African countries were called off due to coronavirus concerns last month.
Iran’s meeting with Mali in Turkey and Senegal’s home clash with Mauritania, as well as a clash between the Gambian and Guinean national teams and Angola’s fixture versus Guinea Bissau – both due to be held in Portugal – were all called off.
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita of Guinea and Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew of Ghana were among the players to test positive for coronavirus.
The top two countries in each of the 12 qualification groups will progress to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The event, which was scheduled to take place next year, has been postponed to early 2022.
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