CONCACAF suspends men’s Olympic qualifying

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MIAMI (AP) — Men’s Olympic qualifying was suspended Friday in soccer’s North and Central American and Caribbean region because of the coronavirus.

The U.S. under-23 team already was in Guadalajara, Mexico, where it had been scheduled to play group stage matches against Costa Rica on March 20, the Dominican Republic three days later and Mexico on March 26. The other teams are Canada, El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras. The two semifinal winners join the 16-nation Olympic field in Japan.

CONCACAF did not announce a new date for qualifying. The U.S. failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Olympic qualifying is limited to players under 23 as of last Jan. 1. Complicating matters, clubs do not have to release players to under-23 teams under FIFA rules, so if qualifying is rescheduled teams may be forced to make roster changes.

CONCACAF said Friday it had suspended all competitions for 30 days, including the CONCACAF Champions League, the first round of qualifying for the 2021 Gold Cup and the Caribbean Club Shield.

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