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New African Football League Set to Commence with Eight Teams

 New African Football League Set to Commence with Eight Teams

New African Football League Set to Commence with Eight Teams
New African Football League Set to Commence with Eight Teams(Image-Getty)

The commencement of the new African Football League, consisting of eight teams, has been officially scheduled for October 20, according to FIFA President Gianni Infantino. He made this announcement during the General Assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Abidjan on Thursday.

Due to a financial loss of $15.7 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year, CAF decided to significantly reduce the number of teams participating in the league from the initial proposal of 24 teams.

Infantino addressed the delegates, stating, "The league will initially feature eight outstanding teams, with plans for expansion in the future. We must invest in both African club football and national team football. It is our responsibility, duty, and collective task, and with the collaborative effort of everyone involved, we will succeed."

With a little over three months remaining until the kickoff, CAF has yet to officially confirm the participating teams, leaving much of the competition's details undisclosed.

However, Reuters has obtained information indicating that the eight teams are likely to include Mamelodi Sundowns, the South African champions owned by CAF President Patrice Motsepe's family, as well as Petro Atletico from Angola, TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Al Ahly from Egypt, Horoya from Guinea, Wydad Casablanca from Morocco, Simba from Tanzania, and Esperance from Tunisia.

The African Football League will run parallel to CAF's Champions League, which features domestic league winners from across the continent. It is important to note that the new league does not replace the existing competition.

Further information regarding broadcasters, sponsors, and logistical aspects is currently unavailable.

Motsepe has emphasized the need to enhance the appeal of African football on a global scale, considering it as a vital aspect of the sport. The establishment of the new league is believed to play a significant role in achieving this objective.

Motsepe expressed to the delegates, "For many years, we have recognized that African football players have been among the best in the world. However, we must enhance the attractiveness, commercial viability, and sustainability of African football."

CAF confirmed a loss in the previous financial year but also reported a 17% increase in revenue to $125.2 million, which is anticipated to further grow in the 2023-24 period.

The deficit was expected due to CAF reaching an out-of-court settlement with commercial agency Lagardere in November of the previous year. This settlement followed the cancellation of a 10-year, $1 billion television and marketing rights deal in 2019.

CAF stated in a released statement, "CAF had to make challenging decisions to resolve longstanding disputes with some of our partners through out-of-court settlements. These settlements, along with other accounting standards provisions recommended by CAF auditors, have been adequately addressed in our financial records."

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