Africa Cup of Nations moved to June and July and expanded to 24 teams

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A bigger, better Africa Cup of Nations?

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will be held in June and July, the Confederation of African Football has announced.

The tournament is usually held in January and February, causing disputes with European clubs who had to release players in the middle of the season.

The 2019 event in Cameroon will be contested by 24 teams, instead of 16.

The changes were rubber-stamped by the CAF executive committee in a meeting in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

Africa's flagship sporting event has featured 16 teams since 1996.

The expansion of the tournament could create problems for Cameroon, which will host the next finals, with the Central African nation's sports minister having to deny reports that preparations were behind schedule.

The competition will continue to be held every two years, in Africa and only with African countries. Caf was considering whether to allow countries from other continents to compete - or even host the tournament.

The announcements follow a two-day symposium organised by Caf president Ahmad to discuss the state of African football.

Historic Symposium

Caf president Ahmad
Caf president Ahmad has overseen sweeping changes in African football this week

As a result of extensive workshops, it was also decided to move African club competitions in line with the European season - from August to May - as opposed to the traditional run through the course of a calendar year.

Sudan's Al Hilal Obeid were also reinstated to this year's edition of the Confederation Cup following Fifa's decision to lift its ban on Sudan.

Despite missing their final match, for which they were awarded a technical defeat, Al Hilal Obeid still had enough points to reach the quarter-finals.

In a bid to save money, qualifiers for Africa's youth competitions will be contested on a zonal basis while Zambia formally withdrew from hosting the Under-23 finals in 2019.

Inspections of Kenya's preparations to host the 2018 African Nations Championship and of Cameroon's readiness to stage the 2019 Nations Cup will be undertaken in August and September respectively.

Among several moves, Caf expressed its determination to 'explore all scientific and medical solutions' in a bid to both determine the causes of sudden cardiac arrests among footballers and prevent age cheating.

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