ZURICH, Switzerland – As expected, the FIFA Council Thursday decided to postpone the September international match window for Concacaf, Asia, Africa and Oceania due to the COVID=-19 pandemic.

The U.S. men’s national team was supposed to start its participation in the hexagonal, the final group of World Cup qualifying for Qatar 2022, in September.

The Council also approved that it will extend the June 2021 international window by seven days for the aforementioned confederations so they can play two matches instead of two.

The Council did not say when Concacaf might return to hosting international and WCQ matches.

The COVID-19 FIFA-Confederations Working Group agreed to put forward five proposals in relation to the men’s international match calendar in the wake of the pandemic. Five proposals, including the Concacaf decision, were unanimously approved by the Council.

The other three were:

* To move the intercontinental playoffs for the 2022 World Cup from March 2022 to June 2022

* To proceed with the September window as planned for CONMEBOL and UEFA, subject to continued monitoring of the situation

* To extend the October 2020 and November 2020 windows by one day for UEFA in order to facilitate the playing of three games instead of the current two; and

In a press release, FIFA said that the COVID-19 FIFA-Confederations Working Group and the stakeholders’ task force will continue their work of monitoring the situation in each confederation, discussing alternative solutions and, if required, putting forward any further proposals to the FIFA Council.

The Counsil also approved the updated regulations for the Olympic Football Tournaments Tokyo 2020, adapting them to the new dates of 21 July to 7 August 2021 and including the adoption of VAR technology. There are no changes to the eligibility rules for players taking part in the men’s tournament (i.e. players born on or after 1 January 1997, with the exception of a maximum of three players per participating team).

The next Council meeting is scheduled for prior the 70th FIFA Congress, which will be held on Sept. 18. Both will be organized as virtual events held by videoconference.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.