The Cameroon Football Federation announced on Wednesday that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will move from the summer and start on January 9:
The 2019 tournament was held in June and July, which meant minimal disruption to the European domestic season, but the dates for the next edition have been changed because of weather conditions.
The Cameroon FA confirmed the change after a meeting with representatives from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) (h/t BBC Sport): "It [2021 Africa Cup of Nations] will be played in Cameroon from 9 January to 6 February 2021. Date changed for weather reasons at Cameroon's request."
BBC Sport's John Bennett explained the thinking behind the decision:
The change in date will have a big impact on Premier League clubs, who will see some of their key players depart to participate in the tournament.
Goal highlighted some of the African stars who could be involved:
Premier League leaders Liverpool are likely to be particularly affected and may have to cope without key players such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for up to six weeks.
Bennett noted how hectic Salah's schedule has been over the last few seasons:
John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC
Sadio Mane's crazy schedule: -2016/2017 - 1st LFC season & an AFCON. -2017/2018 - 44 apps for Liverpool & a World Cup. -2018/2019 - From pre-season to the AFCON final a 363 day season. -2019/2020 - Maybe a rest this summer? 🙏 -2020/2021 - domestic season, AFCON & Club World Cup.
Other big names who are likely to be involved are Arsenal duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez.
The AFCON tournament has always traditionally been held in January but was moved in 2019 and held in the summer for the first time.
Cameroon was due to host the 2019 edition but was stripped of the right because of delays and security issues, and Egypt was subsequently selected host.