the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire postponed to the start of 2024

The African Cup of Nations football, initially scheduled for June and July 2023 in Côte d’Ivoire, has been moved to January-February 2024 for climatic reasons, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Sunday. , Patrice Motsepe.

« The CAN will be held in January and February 2024“said Mr. Motsepe during a press conference in Rabat, after a meeting of the executive committee of CAF. « We don’t want to take the risk of having a competition under the deluge. It would not be good for African football and its image« , he added.

The competition was originally scheduled to be held from June 23 to July 23, 2023 in five Ivorian cities (Abidjan, Bouaké, Yamoussoukro, Korhogo and San-Pedro).

« We make the decision but it’s a matter of respect. We took many opinions and some people told us + There is climate change, maybe the rain will not be a problem +. But the advice we get is that we can’t take that risk“, detailed the president of the African confederation.

Last month, severe flooding caused by heavy rains killed at least five people in Abidjan. The heart of the rainy season in this city with a tropical climate, the month of June is traditionally the rainiest of the year, with an average of around 300 mm of water.

« I am very proud of the world-class infrastructure, the support of President Alassane Ouattara, the Prime Minister, the government and all the football people in Côte d’Ivoire. This competition will be very special“, assured Mr. Motsepe.

« We know that the month of January is not ideal. European clubs are therefore not always inclined to release their best players“, he however recognized.

François Amichia, president of the organizing committee of the CAN in 2023, declared « take noteof this decision. « We, at our level, had taken all the measures so that the infrastructures were ready in time, that is to say by December 31, 2022, to respect the recommendations of the President of the Republic Alassane Ouattara and Prime Minister Patrick Achi.“, he said, adding:”We will take the opportunity to refine the work already done.»

The second vice-president of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF), Koné Mamadou, said that « if the CAF has decided so, it is because it has its reasons » and « we have no choice, we can only align« .

According to him, « the last decision rests with the Ivorian authorities who have put the means for the infrastructuresincluding the construction and renovation of stadiums. Former Ivorian international Cyril Domoraud said CAF’s decision was « wise« . « We cannot deploy great resources for a CAN and play it in the rainy season« , he said. He considers it a « a healthy decision, even if playing in January-February will annoy European clubs« .

Until 2017, the CAN took place at the beginning of the calendar year. The CAF executive committee then decided to move the event to summer. The 2019 edition was held in June and July in Egypt. The following edition, in Cameroon, was moved several times, first at the request of the host country and then because of the Covid. It was finally held in January and February 2022.

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