The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations set to hold in Cameroon is currently under threat following the latest comment from FIFA’s vice-president.
According to Victor Montagliani, who is the president of the football governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf), international football may not return until 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus which originated from China has stalled almost all activities worldwide with football not left out. Top leagues across Europe are currently on suspension as a result of the pandemic.
At the same time, the Euro 2020 and Copa America have been shifted for a year due to the coronavirus. Although efforts are being made to ensure the current football season finishes before August, international football may not return until the new year.
Should that be the case, plans to host the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon could be in jeopardy. Already, the qualifiers for the March and June have been postponed after FIFA decided to cancel international matches to be played during this period.
While the Septemeber, October and November windows are still opened, Montagilani revealed there’s always a possibility those dates will be cancelled.
“I think that might be a bit of a challenge, not so much because of just the health issues around the world and the various degrees of preparedness, but also committing to international travel as soon as we come back,” he told the Guardian.
“I think that domestic football is a priority. September is still in the books, but I would garner to say that I’m not sure it’s there on solid ground the way things are trending right now.”
The return of fans into stadiums could be dependent on a vaccine for Covid-19 being ready, which might not be until 2021.
“If we get the green light to play a football match. I highly doubt that first football match will be with fans. I just can’t see that,” Montagliani said.
“I think that would be taking a massive risk. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a phased-in approach, just like the rest of society is going to be, in terms of us trying to get back to normal here,” he added.