The CAF Executive Committee in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday have approved the recommendation of an increased Africa Cup of Nations from 16 to 24 teams as from the next year’s competition in Cameroon.
CAF rose from a two-day Symposium on Wednesday where a majority of ex-footballers and administrators across the continent suggested an increase in participating teams at the Afcon.
Breaking:CAF Exco adopts resolution to increase Afcon teams from 16 to 24 immediately beginning 2019 Afcon
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According to the proponents, the new format will optimize the financial opportunities of the competition as well as give more teams the chance of playing in the tournament.
Speaking after the Symposium on Wednesday, President of the Nigeria FA, Amaju Pinnick defended the proposal of a 24-team Afcon.
Pinnick said, “This proposal is hinged on sporting, commercial and infrastructural reasons, and we believe that sooner than later, everyone would come to appreciate the position of the proponents of a bigger Africa Cup of Nations.
“George Weah from Liberia became the only African to have been named the World Player of the Year, same year he was voted the African Player of the Year and European Player of the Year.
“He is from a nation (Liberia) many would consider a minnow in the African game. If we have a bigger AFCON, there will definitely be more talented players coming onto the stage, and we could just discover that the next ‘Weah’ would come from either Djibouti or Botswana.
“For commercial reason, more corporate organizations and stakeholders will be involved and it is certainly a bigger cake for everyone. CAF will be richer and the Member Associations will surely benefit.
“When UEFA staged the European Championship in 2012, when it was a 16 –team event, they made a profit of $1.5 billion. Last year, when they staged a 24 –team event for the first time, they made $2.1 billion.
“Having a 24 –team AFCON will also compel the development of stadia facilities across the African continent, as CAF will certainly encourage co-hosting, and this will also ginger general infrastructural development in the continent.”
A CAF Extra-Ordinary General Assembly will sit on Friday where a final vote will be called on the recommendations made at the Symposium.