KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Further complications arising from the Covid-19 pandemic have brought the South American World Cup qualifiers to a standstill before they have even restarted.

European clubs – including Manchester City and Liverpool – had given notice this past week that they would take advantage of a FIFA permit to refuse permission to their South American players to fly home for the upcoming qualifying ties.

The specific concern related to the time those players would need to spend in quarantine on their return to their European clubs.

CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, decided against proceeding with the ties using only home-based players for fear of the commercial consequences with sponsors and broadcasters expecting the star names to be playing.

The quarantine issue also ruled out the possibility of playing the matches in Europe.

World federation FIFA confirmed that the upcoming ties had been postponed.

A statement said: “FIFA can confirm that following discussions with our South American Member Associations in conjunction with CONMEBOL and taking into consideration the existing volatility around travel and quarantine restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has decided to postpone the South American qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ that were due to be played in March 2021.”