The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has accepted a request to postpone the release of players who are part of the Africa Cup of Nations for six days before the start of the tournament.
FIFA rules stipulate that those called up were to join their national teams on Monday, December 27, which means league players who do not have winter breaks such as the Premier League will miss home games.
However, the CAF has agreed to postpone the release of players until January 3 – six days before the start of the Afcon in Cameroon on January 9 – at the request of local leagues. The decision was influenced by an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases throughout Europe.
The delay was confirmed by FIFA secretary general Mattias Grafström in a letter seen by the Associated Press.
“CAF has decided that for these players who have official club matches between 27 December 2021 and 3 January 2022, the member organizations in question must be directed that these players stay with their clubs to participate in the games and be released after the match. the last game this season, ”he wrote.
“FIFA reiterated that the decision was taken in the spirit of enthusiasm and solidarity with the affected clubs because they, like all members of the football community, were badly affected by the onset of the COVID pandemic.
“It is also envisaged that a spirit of co-operation exists between the CAF and all stakeholders involved, including those relating to the release of players and the provision of sporting release in solitary confinement and solitary confinement if needed in the future.”
The decision will be welcomed by players such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Liverpool, and Watford in the Premier League – all of which are expected to lose key players in the February 6 tournament.