African football confederation president Issa Hayatou is against the idea of playing the African Cup of Nations every four years.
The continental competition is currently held every two years and comes in for criticism from European clubs unhappy to lose players midway through the season on a biennial basis.
Asked about the possibility of playing the tournament every four years, Hayatou said: “It is totally excluded at present”, but he admitted the tournament could be staged on odd years.
Such a move would allow the African Confederation to hold the event on years that don’t contain other major tournaments, like the World Cup or the European Championships.
“The decision is actually pending,” Hayatou said. “No decision (has been) taken yet. This requires a great reflection on the feasibility, particularly in terms of qualifying for major competitions.”
Hayatou added that the tournament was an opportunity for all African countries to develop their infrastructures. In Angola, where this year’s African Cup (CAN) is currently being played, new stadiums were built in Luanda and three other cities.
“We need sports infrastructure in our countries,” Hayatou said. “Four stadiums were built in Ghana 2008, another four this year in Angola. These would not have happened without the CAN. The CAN is a development tool not only in the football area.”
The next African Cup will be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012.