Pandemic prompts CAF to change the rules

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Harare - The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has lowered the minimum number of players a team should have for a match to kick-off.

Matches can now proceed if there are 11 names on the team sheet, down from 15. In essence, this means a soccer match can proceed with the starting 11 and no substitutes on the bench.

This was after several teams in recent weeks forfeited CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup matches after players tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

For instance, Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko failed to get 15 names on their team sheet in a decisive CAF Champions League second preliminary fixture against Sudanese side Al Hilal. This saw Al Hilal awarded the ties 2-0, allowing them Sudanese club to advance to the group stage of the competition.

In a statement after consultations with clubs, CAF agreed "to allow a team that has 11 available players to play the match”.

CAF also said: “In case there is no goalkeeper, another player can replace the goalkeeper on condition that the total number of players on the pitch is 11. If a team does not have the minimum number of 11 players to play a match, the team will be considered to have lost the match 2-0.

"We would like to remind you that, if the result of the PCR test of any player is positive, this player will not be authorised to participate in the said match. This decision is applicable in all CAF competitions."

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