The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will start on 9 January after its dates were moved, hosts Cameroon have announced.
The tournament was scheduled to take place in June and July but was changed because of the “unfavourable” weather in the country at that time of year.
It means a number of Premier League clubs could be without first-team players at a crucial stage of the season.
The 2019 tournament in Egypt was the first one to be held in the summer.
Before that, the Cup of Nations had been held in January and February, clashing with the European domestic season.
The change back to a January start means that the tournament will not clash with the expanded Club World Cup, being held in China in June 2021.
Following a meeting on Wednesday with representatives from the Confederation of African Football (Caf), including president Ahmad, the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) tweeted: “It [2021 Africa Cup of Nations] will be played in Cameroon from 9 January to 6 February, 2021. Date changed for weather reasons at Cameroon’s request.”
Caf’s deputy general secretary Tony Baffoe said: “We have reviewed the period of the competition as requested by the Cameroonian party due to unfavourable climatic conditions during the period initially slated.
“After listening to the various arguments and viewpoints – and in particular from the Cameroonian meteorological authorities, the coaches and players – the representatives of the Afcon organising committee, which received the mandate from Caf Executive Committee to take the decision, has granted this request.
“A detailed reported shall be presented to the members of the Executive Committee during its next session on 6 February.”
Cameroon had been scheduled to host the 2019 Cup of Nations, but were stripped of that hounour in November 2018. At the time, Caf said the decision had been made because of delays in the progress of Cameroon’s preparations.
A month later, Caf announced that Cameroon had agreed to host the 2021 edition instead.
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