AFCON uncertainty over Infantino’s backing of player withdrawals and CWC date clash

December 20 – Fresh uncertainty has emerged over whether next month’s African Nations Cup in Cameroon will take place following claims that FIFA president Gianni Infantino has intervened.

Unconfirmed reports suggest a split within the Confederation of African hierarchy over whether to press ahead, in the wake of the new Covid variant and the threat of multiple player withdrawals, with the Continent’s showpiece tournament that has lucrative television contracts.

Infantino is understood to have put his weight behind those European clubs pushing for the rescheduling of the event that is due to kick off on January 9.

Apparently a virtual meeting of CAF’s executive committee on Sunday failed to reach agreement, with the Cameroon hosts refusing to accept yet another delay to a tournament which has already been postponed twice.

Reports suggest a CAF delegation, headed by the African football body’s president, Patrice Motsepe, was due to travel to Cameroon today to check on final preparations, with another meeting now scheduled for Wednesday.

The growing narrative is that Infantino’s first priority is the Club World Cup, due to begin on February 3 but which overlaps with the conclusion of the Afcon.

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