Confederation of African Football (CAF) is set to call off the 2021 AFCON in January amid worries over the Omicron Covid 19 variant.
The African Cup of Nations which is billed for Cameroon between January 9th and February 6th, may no longer hold after reports suggested that the competition could be cancelled amid concerns from national team coaches.
United Kingdom based clubs had been due to lose players for the duration of the tournament, with Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp revealing talks had been taking place with a view to delaying the release of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.
After a CAF meeting on Wednesday, it is expected that the competition will be postponed indefinitely, as first reported by El Balad’s Ismael Mahmoud in Egypt.
AFCON had already been pushed back due to the pandemic, with the tournament initially scheduled for the summer of 2020.
But CAF moved it to January 2020, before the pandemic forced the confederation into a one-year delay.
Over 40 UK based players had been expected to join up with their national sides after the Boxing Day fixtures, though some clubs had been making efforts to delay the release.
However top-flight bosses are now set to be handed a reprieve.
Earlier, France’s RMC Sport cited concerns from “several national coaches” regarding the Omicron variant, while also detailing the complex issues around players attached to English clubs.
“The African players called up by their selection should…undergo a quarantine on their return to the United Kingdom, which would therefore deprive the clubs of their players for a longer period,” the publication noted.