CAF have confirmed a change in timing and increase in the number of participants with effective from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations following the first CAF African Football Symposium in Morocco.
Stakeholders from across the continent were invited to deliberate over various matters concerning African football at the symposium, with CAF on Thursday evening releasing a statement confirming changes to the Africa Cup of Nations, amongst other matters.
As expected, from 2019 onwards, the Africa Cup of Nations will be played in June and July, and will consist of 24 teams, eight more than the current 16-team format.
The statement reads as follows:
“The CAF Executive Committee, at its meeting on Thursday, 20 July 2017, in Rabat, Morocco, reviewed the resolutions of the various working groups of the 1st CAF African Football Symposium held from 18 -19 July 2017 at the Palais des Congrès in Skhirat, near Rabat.
The Committee advocated the establishment of a working group to work on the implementation of the resolutions and propose short, medium and long term implementation timetables. However, a consensus emerged on a number of issues raised by the working groups:
Working group 1: AFCON – Competition and specifications
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.
Working group 2: Inter-club competitions
It was agreed by the Committee to maintain the current format, but to proceed in the future to a change in timing for interclub competitions which are expected to start from August to May.
Working group 3: Football development (Coaching, Refereeing, Medical)
The principle of increasing the indemnities of referees was approved.
The Committee expressed its determination to explore all scientific and medical solutions that could eradicate the phenomenon of age cheating, likewise a research that can help to determine the causes of sudden death among footballers, of which majority of the victims are of African origin.
Working group 4: Youth Football
The Committee decided to organize zonal qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations for the youth categories (U-17, U-20, U-23), with the flexibility offered to each zone to propose a formula. The committee also resolved to strengthen medical checks in determining the eligibility of players.
Working group 5: International Partnerships
The Committee recognizes the urgent need for improved relations between CAF, its member associations, Governments and the African Union.
Working group 6: Communication and Media
The Executive Committee was clearly in support of suggestions made for the improvement of CAF’s communication tools on the digital platforms and social media, in particular the creation of a website in line with the standards of CAF. The Committee committed itself, with a view to strengthening the specifications of the competitions, taking into account the expectations of the media.
Working group 8: Football players, Roles and Perspectives
The Committee endorsed the principle of creating a framework for cooperation with legendary African footballers and their greater involvement in CAF activities.