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AFCON 2025 postponed to early 2026 due to scheduling conflicts

The 2025 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be postponed by six months, shifting to early 2026, but will still be hosted in Morocco.

Originally scheduled for June 2025, the tournament’s dates conflicted with the newly expanded 32-team Club World Cup, set to take place in the United States from June 15 to July 13.

Veron Mosengo-Omba, the General Secretary of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), announced to the BBC that AFCON will now be held at the beginning of 2026 due to significant scheduling challenges.

This delay impacts Morocco’s plans to showcase its tourism sector and demonstrate its capability to host major events ahead of the 2030 World Cup, which it will co-host with Portugal and Spain.

Mosengo-Omba emphasized the importance of player welfare, noting the impracticality of athletes competing in both the Club World Cup and AFCON consecutively. “For the men, we need to ensure that the dates we choose will be in the players’ best interests,” he said, adding that “scheduling is a nightmare for everybody.”

Additionally, CAF is facing criticism for not finalizing the dates for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), also set to be held in Morocco. Mosengo-Omba assured that an announcement would be made by the end of the month, hinting at a potential postponement to accommodate teams participating in the Olympics.

“We are supposed to play this year, but we have teams engaged in the Olympics, so we have to find another date,” he explained. CAF is currently in discussions with UEFA, the European Club Association, and FIFA to identify a suitable date.

Further uncertainty surrounds the second edition of the African Football League, Africa’s new super league. While the first edition featured eight clubs competing in a two-month knockout format, CAF President Patrice Motsepe had promised an expansion to 24 teams for the next edition.

However, the African Champions League and Confederation Cup group stages will now occupy the same October to December period initially allocated to the African Football League.

The rescheduling decisions underscore the complex nature of coordinating international football events, aiming to balance competitive integrity, player welfare, and logistical feasibility.

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