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Africa Cup of Nations schedule set to clash with Premier League

The Confederation of African Football has announced the dates for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations, which looks set to clash with European club football.

Morocco was due to host the event in the summer of 2025 but it has been moved, in part due to FIFA's scheduling of the 32-team Club World Cup.

However, the dates officially announced on Friday - December 21 2025 to January 18 2026 - cut across the Premier League festive programme and only just miss Champions League matchdays at either end of that period.

That will put it in direct conflict with FIFA rules which state clubs only have to release their players for one "A" representative team final competition per year, with the World Cup scheduled to be held in the summer of 2026.

That means clubs will be within their rights to block players going to one of the two tournaments.

CAF president Dr Patrice Motsepe admits planning has been "complex" but insists they have made the best decision for African footballers.

"The announcement of the dates took much longer than expected as there were complex and at times challenging discussions with various interested parties, in the light of the extensive international and domestic match calendars," he said.

"CAF is committed to protecting and advancing the interests of African players, playing in football clubs in Europe and worldwide.

"CAF is also committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with the ECA (European Clubs Association), UEFA, other football confederations and FIFA.

"We will continue to make significant progress in developing and ensuring that African football is globally competitive and amongst the best in the world.

"I am confident that Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and will be the best AFCON in the history of this competition."
 

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