The African Nations Cup will be moved to June and July and the numbers of the opposition will increase from 16 to 24 finalists from the following version in 2019, the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) official board of trustees settled on Thursday.
Radical changes to Africa’s leading competitions were formalised as CAF’s executive committee met in Rabat and adopted recommendations made at a wide-ranging symposium in Morocco earlier in the week.
The move will be welcome news to the Premier League and clubs across Europe as it means they will no longer lose players during the middle of the season.
The tournament is currently staged in January and February and contested by 16 teams, but that will increase by eight and be held during June and July from 2019.
CAF said in a statement: “A consensus emerged on a number of issues raised by the working groups. Increasing the Africa Cup of Nations to 24 teams as of the 2019 edition, and the tournament will now be held in the months of June and July.
“The competition will however remain a biennial event (every two years), odd years and exclusively held on African soil with African national teams.”