Africa Cup of Nations player’s release date delayed

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has accepted a request to postpone the release of players involved in the Africa Cup of Nations to just six days before the start of the tournament.

FIFA’s rules had meant that those called up would join their international squads on Monday, December 27, which would mean that players from leagues that do not have a winter break like the Premier League would miss even more domestic action.

However, CAF has agreed that the release date for the players will be postponed to January 3 – six days before AFCON starts in Cameroon on January 9 – at the request of domestic leagues. The decision was influenced by the growing number of Covid-19 cases in Europe.

The delay was confirmed by FIFA’s Secretary General Mattias Grafström in a letter seen by The Associated Press.

“CAF has decided that for those players who have official club matches between 27 December 2021 and 3 January 2022, the relevant participating member associations shall be required that these players may remain in their clubs to participate in these matches and be released after the last match during this period, ”he wrote.

“It has been emphasized to FIFA that this decision was taken in a spirit of goodwill and solidarity with the affected clubs in recognition of the fact that they, like all members of the football community, have been negatively affected by the emergence of the covid pandemic.

“It is also assumed that a spirit of mutual cooperation will remain between the CAF and all relevant stakeholders in this regard, including related to the release of players and the provision of sports exemptions for travel and quarantine restrictions if required in the future.”

The decision will be welcomed by the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Liverpool and Watford in the Premier League – all of whom will lose key players to the tournament which ends on 6 February.

For more from Krishan Davis, follow him on Twitter.

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