Premier League clubs are set to delay the releasing of players for the Africa Cup of Nations next month, with leading names not set to report for international duty until January 3.
The World Leagues Forum (WLF) has written to FIFA and the Confederation of African Football to say that players will not be released for the tournament until the first week of next month, a week later than stipulated by FIFA.
The tournament is set to cause disruption for several Premier League sides with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez among those who will be competing in the continental competition that will run from January 9 – February 6.
According to The Athletic, the WLF’s general secretary, Jerome Perlemuter, has called FIFA’s current demands for the early release of players “unreasonable and disproportionate” given the tournament is taking place in the midst of domestic seasons.
The WLF also say that any sanctions FIFA impose for not releasing stars for the initial December 27 date will also be deemed ‘abusive, null and void’.
The delay could allow players to feature in the Premier League round of fixtures scheduled for the first weekend in January, a round of action that includes Manchester City vs Arsenal and a potentially pivotal clash between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
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