AFCON 2023 shifted to June

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Jerome Valcke (AFP)
Jerome Valcke (AFP)

Doha - The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Guinea will move from January to June because of FIFA's plan to switch the 2022 Soccer World Cup dates to November-December, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday.

Valcke said the switch was a concession to clubs who don't want to lose their African players for back-to-back tournaments.

The 2022 World Cup is set to finish in late December and the African Cup had been scheduled to start in mid-January 2023.

"The African confederation has automatically and I would say nicely agreed that they will not organise in January '23," Valcke said.

"They will have to postpone the African Cup of Nations to June to avoid that there is a release of the African players for the World Cup and two weeks after for the African Cup."

Confederation of African Football spokesperson Junior Binyam said that he was not yet aware of FIFA's decision to move the African Cup, but CAF would still support any recommendations by the FIFA task force.

FIFA recommended on Tuesday that the 2022 World Cup move to the cooler months at the end of the year, protecting players and fans from the 40-degree Celsius heat of Qatar's summer.

CAF backs "100 percent the proposals of the task force and will adjust its calendar accordingly when a final decision will be made on the schedule of 2022," Binyam wrote.

Clubs are obliged to release players for major tournaments like the African Cup of Nations.

FIFA will confirm the exact 2022 World Cup dates for Qatar next month.

Protecting the World Cup from severe weather in Qatar may hamper the 2023 African Cup, however. The monsoonal rainy season in the West African nation of Guinea normally starts in June.

"We are all making a number of concessions to make sure that this World Cup can be played, for the players, for the fans, for the media, for whoever is attending the World Cup in the best conditions," Valcke said. "It is not perfect, we know that."

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