The Africa Cup of Nations, that was scheduled to be played early in 2021, has been postponed until 2022, the Confederation of African Football announced on Tuesday.
"After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022. The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course," a statement read on the CAF website.
The CAF executive committee held a meeting on Tuesday to decide on the fate of its competitions amid the pandemic.
"This decision was taken due to the uncertainties about the coronavirus health situation and especially because of the scheduling problems since four rounds of qualifiers would need to be fitted into the October and November windows for international matches," CAF President Ahmad Ahmad told a news conference after the meeting.
All continental sports activities have been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup, which were originally scheduled to be played on 1 May.
The Nations Cup was scheduled to start on 9 January, 2021 in Cameroon, but the fate of the continental tournament was also unclear given that the CAF has postponed three rounds of qualifiers until further notice.
Egypt, record seven-time African champions, are due to continue their campaign in the Nations Cup qualifiers.
The Pharaohs were held to draws by minnows Kenya and Comoros in their opening qualifying games last year. The group winners will advance to the 2022 Nations Cup finals in Cameroon.
The CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup will resume in September in a final four format. The semi-finals will be played in a single match. The Confederation Cup mini-tournament will be played in Morocco while the venue of the Champions League is yet to be decided.
Prior to the CAF competitions’ postponement, Egypt’s big names, Ahly and Zamalek, had been set to play Champions League semi-finals against Moroccan sides Wydad de Casablanca and Raja de Casablanca respectively.
"But we have to see what happens with the pandemic and what the situation will be. We have made a decision today but this could all change tomorrow," Ahmad added.
Due to the current circumstances, the African governing body has also decided to cancel the CAF awards 2020.
Also on Tuesday, the CAF Executive Committee decided to postpone the 2020 African Nations Championship to January 2021 in Cameroon while the Women's 2020 has been cancelled.
The African governing body also announced that it will disburse USD 300,000 to each association member to help them face the challenges posed by the coronavirus.
The CAF president has commended Egypt following the signature to the 10-year Headquarters agreement on 24 June 2020. "With the new agreement, CAF and its officials will benefit from immunities and privileges granted to diplomatic missions in the territory of the Arab Republic of Egypt in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention," he said.
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