The Confederation Of African Football (CAF) have announced new dates for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament which could cause problems for Premier League clubs.
Clubs have been critical of the decision to host the tournament in January and February, which led to a change in the format after the 2017 AFCON.
The 2019 finals were held in Egypt over the summer, as Riyad Mahrez’s Algeria defeated Sadio Mane’s Senegal in the final to win the tournament.
But now a switch back to the beginning of the year has been agreed for 2021 in Cameroon.
This was further discussed on Wednesday, with Confederation of African Football president Ahmad Ahmad said to be in favour of the decision.
The switch could occur because of the weather conditions in Cameroon during June and July period, which is always rainy, as well as FIFA’s plan for the 2021 Club World Cup, which would take place in the summer.
The decision to move the tournament back to the January and February dates comes as a huge problem for several clubs, many who would be without key players during that period.
Liverpool could miss out on both their key first team players in Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Senegal star Sadio Mane for up to six weeks, with Guinea midfielder Naby Keita also likely to be absent.
Arsenal could also be without Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should he choose to play for Gabon during the tournament, while Nicolas Pepe would also maybe play for Ivory Coast.
Manchester City winger, Algerian star Mahrez could also miss some few weeks of Premier League action and Ivory Coast trio of Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier, Manchester United’s Eric Bailly and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha could also be called up.