Next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cameroon has been postponed until 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Confederation of African Football announced Tuesday in a video conference. CAF president Ahmad Ahmad said African football’s governing body took the decision as “health was the main priority”.
African countries have suffered to varying degrees from the pandemic with South Africa the hardest hit among those south of the Sahara, recording more than 144,000 cases, while Egypt has suffered the worst in North Africa with over 66,000 infections.
“The peak of the pandemic has not been reached yet,” Ahmad added. The CAF Champions League will round up its matches in September while the Confederation Cup will wrap up towards the end of this year with a ‘Final Four’ expected to take place in Morocco. These last two competitions were interrupted in March ahead of the semi-finals phase.
Ahmad also announced the cancellation of the women’s Cup of Nations which was scheduled to take place in November while revealing the launch of a new club competition for 2021.
“I am expressing my pride in seeing the birth of a women’s Champions League on the African continent,” the CAF president, who faced allegations of sexual misconduct last year, said. Last week, FIFA pledged $1.5 billion in grants and loans as a relief fund to help national and continental federations in stemming the economic downturn with the halting of football since the start of the pandemic.
Other regional football competitions slated to be played this summer have also been delayed such as the European Championship and Copa America. This month saw the muted return of prominent European leagues, such as the English Premier League, with matches played in empty stadiums.