The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has said it will hold talks to determine the dates of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon, while the governing body has been forced into a new tender process to find a host for the 2020 Women’s Cup of Nations.
The announcements were made following a Caf Executive Committee meeting chaired by president Ahmad Ahmad in Cairo, Egypt. In January, Caf received the green light for its reshuffling of hosting rights to the Afcon following an agreement struck with Alassane Ouattara, President of the Ivory Coast.
Ouattara met with his Caf counterpart with the result of the talks meaning that Ivory Coast will host the 2023 Afcon and not the 2021 edition as originally planned. The announcement seemingly ended the threat of a legal challenge by the Ivory Coast Football Federation, which was angered when Ahmad announced Cameroon as the new 2021 host without the Ivorians being consulted.
Caf had been attempting to deal with a hosting crisis resulting from the logistical strain placed on host nations from its decision to expand its showpiece national team tournament from 16 to 24 teams for this year’s edition.
Earlier in January, Caf appointed Egypt as the new host of the 2019 Afcon. Cameroon had been due to host the tournament, but was stripped of its hosting rights in December 2018 amid delays in stadium construction.
Egypt hosted this year’s Afcon from June 21 to July 19, a change to the tournament’s normal window in January and February. Caf’s announcement on Cameroon’s event potentially opens up the prospect that the Afcon could return to its traditional scheduling.
Caf said in a statement: “Due to metrological issues, the dates of the CAN [Afcon] 2021 will be decided jointly by Caf and the host country. The Caf administration will now decide the dates, times and venues of matches after analysis of the opinions of the teams concerned.”
Dates have also been set for the Caf Super Cup, which will be staged in Qatar after never having been held outside Africa. Caf said it will be played in Doha on February 14.
The annual meeting between the winners of the previous season’s Champions League and Confederation Cup will see Tunisia’s Espérance Sportive de Tunis meet Egyptian club Zamalek. Meanwhile, a call to tender has been issued to secure a host for the 2020 Women’s Cup of Nations.
Caf has been forced into the move after Congo withdrew from staging the tournament in July. The BBC reports that South Africa, one of the bidders for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, rejected an approach to take on the contract.
South African Football Association (Safa) acting chief executive Gay Mokoena said: “We are not going to express an interest on this. We are instead trying to focus our efforts on the 2023 Women’s World Cup. I will write to Caf to advise them that we will not express any interest to host this tournament.”
Meanwhile, the Caf executive committee has ratified its Emergency Committee’s decision to terminate a contract with the Lagardère Sports agency. Earlier this week, Ahmad refused a request from Lagardère Sports to address the termination.
The deal covered the sale of Caf’s media and sponsorship rights internationally from 2017 to 2028 and was worth $1bn (€903m). Competitions covered by the agreement included the flagship Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championships and the Champions League.
Lagardère described the move as a “unilateral decision” that was “unlawful, unreasonable and unjustified”. Caf has strongly defended the move, describing it as a “legal consequence” of recommendations by two different competition authorities.