Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Sunday said Premier League players heading to next month’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, will be allowed to play for their clubs until January 3.
According to the rules of the game, clubs are to release players 14 days before a continental championship or the World Cup.
However, CAF has agreed to allow players to play for their clubs between December 27 and January 3 before joining up with their national squads for the AFCON, which kick off in Cameroon on January 9.
With this latest development it will come as a relief to English clubs who had been due to lose their African players by official release date of December 27, although some had made individual arrangements for players to stay with them for as long as possible before the start of the tournament.
Both FIFA and World League Forum have been critical of the timing of the Africa Cup of Nations due to the coronavirus outbreaks recently, claiming the biennial competition should be postponed.
But according to FIFA who said CAF had decided to offer relief to clubs.
“It is also assumed that a spirit of mutual cooperation remains between CAF and all relevant stakeholders in this regard, including related to the release of players and the provision of sporting exemptions to travel and quarantine restrictions if required in the future.”
“This decision is taken in the spirit of goodwill and solidarity with the affected clubs in recognition of the fact that all members of the football community have been adversely affected by the onset of the Covid pandemic.”