African soccer’s biggest tournament, AFCON could be moved from the start of the year to the European summer months of June and July, with the number of teams being increased from 16 to 24. Th e proposals for the future of the African Cup of Nations were made at a two-day meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Rabat, Morocco, hosted by the Confederation of African Football. Th e changes appear to have widespread support. New CAF president Ahmad, who was elected in March to replace long-standing leader Issa Hayatou, promised a review of the Cup of Nations in his election campaign.
Th e move from January-February to June-July would be especially important for CAF’s fl agship tournament – its major money earner – which has been troubled for years by the fact that it clashes with a crucial time for European leagues. Th at’s led to club vs. country dilemmas for many of Africa’s Europe-based players, underlined at this year’s Cup of Nations in Gabon when seven of Cameroon’s top players decided to miss the threeweek tournament to remain with their clubs.
Th e increase from 16 to 24 teams would follow the lead of the European Championship, which increased from 16 to 24 teams in 2016, and the World Cup, which will go to 48 teams from 2026. Th e reasoning behind the expansion for the African Cup is simple: More teams mean more games, and more television and marketing revenue for CAF. Th e proposals, made at the meeting of leading soccer fi gures from across Africa, would need