Patrice Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football, stated on Friday that the dates for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations finals in Morocco are still up in the air due to a possible conflict with the newly redesigned Club World Cup, which is scheduled for mid-2025.
The 2019 Cup of Nations dates were shifted from the beginning of the year to the middle of the year in order to accommodate player commitments to their clubs.
The original dates were scheduled for Egypt.
But due to worries about Cameroon and the Ivory Coast’s rainy season, the last two Cup of Nations were moved to January–February.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a 12-month delay in the Cameroonian finals in 2021, and weather-related delays of six months have caused the Ivory Coast tournament in 2023 to run six months behind schedule.
On Saturday, it begins in Abidjan.
The extended Club World Cup that FIFA has introduced has cast doubt on CAF’s plans to return to a mid-year schedule for the 2025 finals in Morocco.
A possible conflict of dates was raised when FIFA announced last month that the expanded 32-team Club World Cup would take place in the United States from June 15–July 13.
Players from Wydad Casablanca in Morocco and Al Ahly in Egypt typically play for their national teams, and two African clubs have already qualified for the Club World Cup.
Should the Cup of Nations also take place in the middle of 2025, it would directly conflict.
Although Motsepe indicated the CAF was still debating on the date, he hinted that it might be shifted.
“We want the Cup of Nations to take place when it is most favourable and convenient for the tournament,” he told a Friday press conference.
“We are still engaging with FIFA about the dates.”
Although the exact date of the Cup of Nations is still up for debate, every CAF competition from 1968 to 2017 took place during the first three months of the year.
When more African football players were signed by European teams and subsequently had to leave their teams in the middle of the season to play, it became an increasingly serious issue in the 1990s.