Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad has indicated that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations could revert to its original dates in January/February due to the “climatic conditions” in host country Cameroon.
Ahmad who disclosed this to insideworldfootball.com also added that that the move would preserve the integrity of the tournament following FIFA’s move to stage the revamped Club World Cup in the summer of 2021.
According to FIFA, the revamped Club World Cup would begin on 17 June and end on 4 July, five days before the scheduled start of the AFCON.
CAF engineered a shift in dates of the continent’s football showpiece which was held in June/July in Egypt this year in order to avoid the longrunning country versus club row about releasing leading players for the tournament in January when the European season is in full flow.
But following FIFA’s move, Ahmad said a shift back to the original dates was under serious consideration although he said the proposed move had more to do with the weather conditions in Cameroon in June/July than any other considerations.
“When we took the decision to move the Africa Cup of Nations to June, which we did for the last tournament in Egypt, we have always said that we need to have some flexibility over the dates,” Ahmad said.
“This is because of the different climatic conditions in the continent. I don’t know why the media has forgotten that this was discussed in detail, at the 2017 CAF symposium that we had in Morocco.
“In my view, it is not possible, because of the climatic conditions in Cameroon, to stage the Africa Cup of Nations in June/July. This is clear, so we must take a decision on the date.”
Whilst some view the proposed change in dates for the AFCON in a positive light, the move is sure to resurrect the longstanding row between African countries and European clubs about player availability.
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