Sunday Feb 02, 2020. 10:00
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be played every four years, instead of its current biennial schedule, according to AP.
Speaking at an event in Morocco on developing football in Africa, the world football boss believes that revenue and prestige would increase for a four-yearly continental championship.
Infantino’s comments come in the wake of CAF’s recent controversial decision to shift the 2021 AFCON from June-July to January-February – ostensibly due to fears over rainy weather in Cameroon, but it also notably clears the schedule of competition for a revamped 24-team Club World Cup.
A change to every four years would certainly be favoured by European clubs, which will lose their major African players to the AFCON in the middle of next season.
In addition to this switch, Infantino also suggests that African football will have more slots in an expanded slate of youth World Cups, which would see the introduction of annual under-16 and under-18 tournaments for boys and girls instead of the current under-17 events every two years.
The boys’ tournaments could grow from 24 teams to 48 if FIFA’s ruling council agrees. Girls’ tournaments could grow to 24 teams from 16.
“There is an impression that Africa is going backwards,” said the FIFA president, who added in regards to issues of f refereeing, football infrastructure and competitions: “We have to intervene seriously.”
Infantino continued, “The competitions don’t give us what they should give us.”