Hayatou Backs Nations Cup Timing

23 January 2006 at 06:14 | 1330 views

The president of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou, has defended the timing of the African Cup of Nations.
His comments, on the eve of the tournament, come despite protests from many European clubs.

Hayatou said wet weather would prevent many African countries hosting the event during the European close season.

"We would not have decent pitches to stage the tournament on," he said.

"It would be more like water polo than football."

French and English clubs have been particularly hard-hit at a crucial time of the season, with clubs such as St Etienne and Bolton Wanderers having six and four players called up respectively.

Asked why the mid-year World Cup had been awarded to South Africa in 2010, Hayatou said weather conditions in north and southern Africa were favourable for football at that time.

"But for the rest, it is not possible," he stressed.

North African countries Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia were the other contenders for the 2010 World Cup, destined to be the first edition of the quadrennial tournament to ever be staged in Africa.

Photo: Issa Hayatou

Credit: BBC Sports