It was an expected move but now the consequences of COVID delays are set to wreak havoc.

The new fixture scheduling for World Cup qualification will likely affect both the A-League, which stands to lose many of its key players throughout the new WCQ schedule, and the Socceroos themselves.

Australia will have to play their fixtures against Kuwait and Nepal, originally scheduled for October this year, and Chinese Taipei and Jordan, originally in November, in 2021.

There is also the possibility of Copa America, should that go ahead, in June next year and the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

Speculation is rife that FIFA will open up a brand new international window in January to deal with the extra load, which could directly affect the A-League.

“With the aim of protecting the health and safety of all participants, FIFA and the AFC will continue to work together to closely monitor the situation in the region and to identify new dates for the respective qualifying matches,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Further details on the new dates for the next round of qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 will be announced in due course.”