Veteran coach says FIFA is harming Africa Cup of Nations
Claude Le Roy, coach of Togo
Tuesday Oct 29, 2019. 14:00
Veteran French coach Claude LeRoy says the decision by FIFA to host the expanded Club World Cup in June-July from 2021 will have a massive adverse impact on the Africa Cup of Nations.
The global club competition will run from June 17-July 4, with the Nations Cup in Cameroon allocated a window somewhere between July 5-31.
“Fifa’s decision that June is a good time to host the Club World Cup means they are killing the Nations Cup,” LeRoy, who is currently in charge of Togo, told BBC Sport Africa.
“When they decided to make a world championship of clubs with 24 teams at the same time as the Africa Cup of Nations, it’s terrible for the projection of this beautiful competition – the Nations Cup.”
LeRoy points out that playing the Nations Cup so late in the calendar will be a return to the club vs country rows of the past when it was held in February-January, as teams will fight to have their African players for pre-season.
“If you move the Nations Cup to July, it’s worse than before for the clubs,” LeRoy said.
“The players will miss the pre-season preparations with their clubs and this part of the season is the most important for the players.
“If we transfer a little bit later in July, not one player will be coming back for the pre-season preparations and they will rest for one-two weeks and begin the season later than the whole players.”
FIFA will expand the club competition from seven to 24 sides as it replaces the now defunct Confederations Cup on the calendar and will go from an annual event to one that is staged every four years.
Europe will get eight places at the finals in China in 2021, South America six, Africa, Asia, North and Central America three, and Oceania one.
The three African sides will come from the finalists in the 2020/21 CAF Champions League, as well as a playoff between the two losing semi-finalists.