— Published 4 July 2022

AFCON 2023 is postponed

Strange. The African Cup of Nations (AFCON), initially scheduled for June and July 2023 in Côte d’Ivoire, will finally take place in January and February 2024. A decision announced by the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the South African Patrice Motsepe, and justified by reasons … climate. “We do not want to take the risk of having a competition under the rain,” explained the African leader in Rabat, in a press conference, after a meeting of the executive committee of CAF. It would not be good for African soccer and its image. We take the decision, but it is a question of respect. We have taken a lot of advice and some people have told us: “There is climate change, maybe rain will not be a problem”. But the advice we are getting is that we can’t take that risk. AFCON 2023 was originally scheduled to take place from June 23 to July 23, in five Ivorian cities: Abidjan, Bouaké, Yamoussoukro, Korhogo and San Pedro. June is the rainiest month of the year in Côte d’Ivoire. Flooding caused by heavy rains has killed at least five people in Abidjan this year in recent weeks. CAF’s decision seemed to come as a surprise to the Ivorian organizers, who said they would take note of the postponement of the continental tournament. François Amichia, the president of the organizing committee, explained: “We had taken all the necessary measures to ensure that the infrastructure would be ready in time, that is to say by December 31, 2022, to respect the recommendations of the President of the Republic, Alassane Ouattara, and the Prime Minister, Patrick Achi. But we will take the opportunity to refine the work already done.” With this postponement to the beginning of the year, a period more favorable from a climatic point of view but less appreciated by European clubs, the AFCON returns to its origins. It was indeed held during the winter until 2017, before being organized in June and July from 2019 in Egypt. But the next edition, in Cameroon, was moved several times, for health reasons and because of delays. It was finally held in January and February 2022.