Sports News of Thursday, 16 March 2017
Confederation of African Football President Issa Hayatou has rejected any possibility of changing the timing of the African Nations Cup Finals despite the problems it poses for European-based players and their clubs.
Hayatou, speaking at the opening of the Confederation’s Congress in Ethiopia on Thursday, slammed calls mainly from European clubs to have the tournament moved to the summer.
The Africa Cup of Nations tournament is played in January and February which falls in the middle of the season for European clubs.
This means the clubs have to play without their African stars who have to leave for the three-week tournament which leads to problems for the Europeans in the middle of the season.
Hayatou said the CAF would not “be dictated to by outside forces” with respect to the Nations Cup finals and that the schedule was determined by climatic conditions.
“Never sway from the path that has been pioneered,” he told African member associations as the organisation celebrated its 60th anniversary.
The timing of the tournament every two years in January draws criticism from European clubs, who lose their African players at a crucial stage of the season.
Players are often caught in the middle of the club v country rows.