• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

CAF confirms new dates for 2025 AFCON

AFCON-trophy (1)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced the new dates for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which will be held in Morocco. CAF President Patrice Motsepe confirmed that the tournament will run from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026.

“I am confident that the CAF AFCON Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and the best AFCON in the history of this competition,” said Motsepe.

The announcement faced delays due to complex discussions with various stakeholders, considering the extensive international and domestic match calendars. CAF is dedicated to protecting the interests of African players globally and aims to build beneficial relationships with the ECA, UEFA, other football confederations, and FIFA.

CAF held a virtual executive committee meeting at their Cairo headquarters, where Motsepe made the announcement. Initially scheduled for June and July 2025, the tournament was moved to avoid clashing with the inaugural Club World Cup in the United States, set for June 15 to July 13, 2025.

Additionally, CAF sought to avoid overlapping with the UEFA Champions League, which resumes on January 21, 2026.

Despite the new dates, the timing could inconvenience Premier League clubs, as the Christmas-New Year period is a busy time with numerous matches. English media reports suggest clubs might not release African players, as they are only required to do so for one international tournament per year, with the next World Cup taking place in 2026. CAF might argue that it is the 2025 AFCON, even though most of the tournament will occur the following year.

Scheduling the AFCON, a 24-nation tournament, has become increasingly challenging. While a mid-year schedule worked for the 2019 edition in Egypt, avoiding clashes with European club seasons, finding suitable dates remains complex.