FIFA Club World Cup: CAF May Shift AFCON To December 2025

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The next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco could start in mid-December to accommodate the expanded FIFA Club World Cup and the new Champions League format next year.

But the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has strongly denied claims that the competition may only hold every four years in future. The 2025 tournament had originally been earmarked to hold in June and July next year in an attempt to reduce scheduling conflicts with European club teams and competitions. But CAF was forced to deny reports last week that it would be moved to January 2026 due to the clash with the Club World Cup – the 32-team competition that will be held in the United States between June 15 and July 13 next year.

A final decision is expected within the next fortnight, but it is understood that leading figures in Morocco’s organising committee have been pushing for the group stage to begin in mid-December, with the final being held in the middle of January.

That would mean a potential clash with the busy festive Premier League programme that usually holds over Christmas, with 17 of its 20 clubs having had a representative at the last tournament in Cote d’Ivoire this year.

The situation has been further complicated by the addition of two extra match days scheduled for the last two weeks of January in the expanded Champions League that begins next season in Europe.

That means the traditional window for AFCON in mid-January to mid-February – when the knockout stages of the Champions League are due to start – is likely to cause even more disruption than usual.

CAF sources have refused to rule out the possibility of starting the group stage in December after months of talks between stakeholders that have failed to reach consensus. In February, it was reported to have reached an agreement in principle to stage the tournament between July 20 and August 17, 2025 due to the clash with the Club World Cup – a move that was said to be backed by FIFA. But that option now appears unlikely with negotiations continuing.

The 2025 edition is set to become the seventh AFCON in succession to be rescheduled from its original dates

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