The fate of CAN 2021 in Cameroon sealed at the end of June?

The Stade Paul Biya in Yaoundé. WikiCommons / Criszap89

Text by: David Kalfa Follow

The fate of the next men's African Cup of Nations (CAN 2021), scheduled for Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, could be partially sealed after the meeting of the Council of the International Football Federation (FIFA) on June 25. He will indeed look into a calendar of international matches disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Depending on FIFA's decisions, the CAN 2021 qualifiers may or may not end on time.


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In an ideal world, the big football family should have met in early June in Addis Ababa, at the headquarters of the African Union. Because this was what was planned, a year ago: that the 70th Congress of the International Football Federation (FIFA) and a meeting of the government (Council) of FIFA be held in Ethiopia.

However, in the world of the new coronavirus, the FIFA Council will take place on 25 June by videoconference. And the general assembly (Congress) of the apex body of world football will take place on September 18, also online.

As for African football, which was initially to organize its congress on June 3 and 4 in the Ethiopian capital, it will experience a crisp end of the month.

More or less international matches ?

The FIFA Council will indeed examine the calendar for international men's matches. A schedule largely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The international truces of March and June having been canceled, the qualifications of many competitions were delayed. Starting with those of the next African Cup of Nations, whose final phase is scheduled from January 9 to February 6, 2021 in Cameroon.

There are four days left before the end of the year. If FIFA decides to delete the next window (August 31-September 8) for health reasons, there will be two more left (October 5-13, then November 9-17). This would be enough to complete the CAN 2021 qualifiers. But there would then be no room for maneuver to organize the draw and then the final phase at scheduled times, while the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic remains very uncertain. Postponing competition to June-July 2021 or early 2022 would then be less risky (but not without consequences ) than keeping the African Cup in January.

Conversely, FIFA could decide to rearrange the rest of the 2020 calendar, so that the national teams can play more games. This is what should happen, if we are to believe the European confederation (UEFA). The football periods for national teams in October and November 2020 will now include three close matches instead of two,  " said UEFA in a statement dated 17 June. In this case, CAN 2021 could a fortiori be played on the dates set.

CAF meeting on June 30

FIFA could also decide not to decide anything major, this June 25, its attention focusing on the designation of the host country (s) for the 2023 Women's World Cup (Colombia or the duo Australia-New Zealand) .

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will assess the consequences of any decisions taken by FIFA on June 30. The CAF Executive Committee (ComEx) meets on this day. This ComEx promises to be particularly busy, between theend of African Cups of clubs to be re-planned, CHAN 2020 to be overwritten, and a probable postponement of the CAN Women 2020 . As a sign of the importance of this meeting, the president of CAF, the Madagascan Ahmad, will speak in the wake of a press conference.

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