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Premier League clubs may delay the release of players for AFCON

The World Leagues Forum (WLF), the umbrella organisation for domestic divisions around the globe, has written to FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to say that players will not be released for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) until January 3.

This goes against FIFA’s regulations, which stipulate that players have to be made available from December 27 — 13 days before the tournament gets underway on January 9. WLF general secretary, Jerome Perlemuter, says that FIFA’s regulations in this instance are “unreasonable and disproportionate” for many clubs whose domestic leagues are ongoing.

As well as claiming that the WLF has written two previous letters which have gone unanswered, Perlemuter says that any sanctions imposed by FIFA for clubs who do not adhere to the December 27 date “will be deemed abusive, null and void”.

Perlemuter also notes the “unilateral decisions” taken by FIFA and the CAF with regards to AFCON being held in the winter, its format being extended by a week and national FAs being encouraged to call up large squads.

This AFCON was initially scheduled to be held in June and July 2021 but was brought forward to January and February due to unfavourable weather. It was then postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFCON begins on January 9 when Cameroon face Burkina Faso. The final will be on February 6.

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