Afcon 2023 Will Be Moved To June, Says Valcke

Fifa confirms the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) will be moved to June because of plans to play the 2022 World Cup in Qatar between end-November and end-December.

The football governing body will not pay compensation to European clubs and leagues unhappy about recommendation for a winter World Cup in the predominantly Islamic Gulf state. It does not plan to apologise for the scheduling, which is expected to disrupt a host of domestic leagues.

World Cup 2022 will be shortened from the usual 31/32 to 28 days as a “concession” to leagues and clubs. The exact dates of the tournament will be on the agenda for the Fifa executive committee (ExCo) meeting in Zurich on 19 and 20 March.

Kolo Toure Celebrates With His Cote d'Ivoire Team-Mates after Their 2015 Triumph in Equatorial Guinea. Image: AFP.
Kolo Toure Celebrates With His Cote d’Ivoire Team-Mates after Their 2015 Triumph in Equatorial Guinea. Image: AFP.

“We have been expecting this decision for some time, but it is going to run late into December and just how close to Christmas it gets is something that needs to be thought through,” said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Valcke says football confederations are upbeat on the possibility of a 23 December final, although 18 December has also been talked about.

A Fifa task force on Tuesday proposed the 2022 World Cup be moved to the cooler month of November and December to avoid Qatar’s baking summer temperatures.

The 2023 Cup of Nations was scheduled for Guinea in January. The Confederation of African Football and other confederations are understandably fully behind the dates change.

Speaking at a news conference in Doha on Wednesday, Valcke admitted the situation was “not perfect.”

Chairman of the European Clubs Association (ECA), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, in response to the switch said the organisation “expect the clubs to be compensated for the damage that a final decision would cause.”

“There will be no compensation,” said Valcke. “There are seven years to reorganise. “Why are we talking about compensation? It’s happening once we’re not destroying football.

“Why should we apologise to the clubs? We have had an agreement with the clubs that they are part of the beneficiaries. It was $40m (£26m) in 2010 and $70m (£45m) in 2014. We are bringing all our people to enjoy the sporting and financial results of the World Cup.”

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