Qatar will be a guest competitor in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup as one of 13 teams that are currently guaranteed a spot in the 16-team group stage, the federation announced on Wednesday.
Additionally, the remaining three group spots will be determined by two rounds of preliminary matches staged at a centralized site in the US from July 2-6 next year.
Qatar's participation comes as part of a strategic partnership between Concacaf, the Qatar Football Association and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the organization charged with delivering the infrastructure and operations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar will also compete in the 2023 Gold Cup.
Qatar also competed in the 2019 Copa America, and competing in the 2021 Gold Cup will give the team additional high-level competitive matches to draw from as they prepare to play in their first World Cup in 2022 as host.
The other 12 automatic group qualifiers are those teams that finished first or second in their Concacaf Nations League A groups, as well as group winners in Concacaf Nations League B play. The 12 teams to contest preliminary games are 3rd-place finishers from A groups, 2nd-place finishers from B groups and group winners from Concacaf Nations League C.
- 12 Gold Cup group stage qualifiers: Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Suriname, United States
- Guest participant: Qatar
- 12 Gold Cup preliminary qualifiers: Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago
A first ever draw for the Gold Cup will take place on September 28, 2020. Both the preliminary round and group stage draw will take place on that date, with further details to be revealed in the coming weeks.