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CAF Announces Dates For AFCON 2025, To Hold From December 21, 2025 To January 18, 2026

2025 will be the first time AFCON holds over Christmas and New Year. It’ll clash with UEFA Champions League matches.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be hosted by Morocco and will take place from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026.

This scheduling marks the first time in the tournament’s history that it will run over the Christmas and New Year period. The 24-team finals will overlap with the Premier League’s festive programme and occur between match rounds in the UEFA Champions League.

The 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON), also set to be held in Morocco, has been postponed until July next year, taking place from July 5 to July 26, 2024. CAF had previously aimed to hold its flagship men’s tournament at the end of the European club season, during the June-July slot. However, these dates next year will clash with FIFA’s inaugural 32-team Club World Cup.

The potential release of players for the 2025 AFCON remains uncertain, as Europe’s top clubs may resist due to the congested club and international calendars. According to FIFA’s regulations on the status and transfer of players, “It is not compulsory to release the same player for more than one ‘A’ representative team final competition per year.”

This regulation could impact player availability for both the AFCON and the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in June and July 2026. Nine African teams are guaranteed to participate in the expanded 48-team World Cup.

The issue of player release has sparked significant debate, with the Professional Footballers’ Association recently joining a legal action against FIFA over the “overloaded and unworkable” football calendar, including the expanded Club World Cup.

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