President of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), Gianni Infantino, has called for the Africa Cup of Nations to be scheduled as part of the long international break in the autumn.
The African showpiece has been an event which has been held between January and February in the past until the 2019 edition in Egypt which took place in June and July.
As part of plans to making changes to international football which includes the idea of playing the World Cup every two years, Infantino believes an AFCON in the period of September and November will be best for everyone.
The 33rd Africa Cup of Nations was scheduled to take place in Cameroon in the summer but complains of the weather situation as well as preparations has seen the tournament being reverted to the beginning of the year, starting January 9, 2022.
However, FIFA’s president believes players leaving their clubs midway through the season is not a good idea and believes an autumn period will do a lot of good.
“If we can streamline the calendar and make sure that an Africa Cup of Nations could be played as part of a longer international window in the autumn, then I think we would have already achieved something quite important,” Infantino said.
“[This would mean] less disruption for so many leagues who have players of African nationality. A few years ago, no one cared if the Africa Cup of Nations was played in January and February – more or less.
“Today it is becoming an issue because in January and February many leagues in Europe, in particular but also in other parts of the world where African players are playing, are in the middle of their competition and they have to release these players.”
In recent times, clubs and national teams have been at loggerheads with one another in the build up to the Africa Cup of Nations, with the recent one being the European Clubs Associations’ (ECA) letter to CAF regarding their unwillingness to release players midseason for the tournament.