African Nations Cup 2023 in Guinea to move to June - Jerome Valcke

DOHA, Qatar -- The 2023 African Nations Cup (ANC) in Guinea will move from January to June because of FIFA's plan to switch the 2022 World Cup dates to November-December, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday.

Valcke claimed the switch was a concession to clubs who don't want to lose their African players for back-to-back tournaments.

The 2022 World Cup is set to finish in late December and the ANC had been scheduled to start in mid-January 2023.

"The African confederation has automatically and I would say nicely agreed that they will not organize in January '23," Valcke said. "They will have to postpone the African Cup of Nations to June to avoid that there is a release of the African players for the World Cup and two weeks after for the African Cup."

Confederation of African Football (CAF) spokesman Junior Binyam said in an email to The Associated Press that he was not yet aware of FIFA's decision to move the cup, but CAF would still support any recommendations by the FIFA task force.

CAF backs "100 percent the proposals of the task force and will adjust its calendar accordingly when a final decision will be made on the schedule of 2022," Binyam wrote.

Clubs are obliged to release players for major tournaments like the African Nations Cup but the move could cause issues as the rainy season in the West African nation of Guinea normally starts in June.

"We are all making a number of concessions to make sure that this World Cup can be played, for the players, for the fans, for the media, for whoever is attending the World Cup in the best conditions," Valcke said. "It is not perfect, we know that."