The Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) insists neither it nor the Ivorian government has been informed by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) of a possible shift to their hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021.
FIF reacted to an interview Caf President Ahmad Ahmad gave to Afrique Media TV on Monday when he said that Cameroon – stripped of the 2019 hosting rights – would replace Ivory Coast as hosts in 2021 and the latter would instead stage the 2023 tournament.
“We made this decision to shift, because we saw that Ivory Coast also is not ready for 2021. To do things in a more humane way, in 2021, the Cameroonians will be ready.
“And in 2023, we will organise the tournament in Ivory Coast. This is the decision taken by the Caf Executive Committee on November 30, 2018 in Accra,” Ahmad said.
Caf, which is still looking for a new host for the 2019 Nations Cup, has not made any official statement on the reported swap and some top officials told the BBC that only president Ahmad or the general-secretary Amr Fahmy can confirm this latest development.
Countries struggling to meet deadlines for the building of stadiums, roads, medical facilities and other infrastructure has been a Cup of Nations problem for decades.
Hosts Gabon were applying finishing touches to one stadium after the 2017 Cup of Nations kicked off.
From 2019, the competition will be played during the June and July instead of January and February to avoid the club-versus-country clashes that have marred recent editions.
Morocco are considered favourites to replace Cameroon as 2019 hosts with South Africa — emergency hosts in 1996 and 2013 — another possibility.
Egypt have said they would not compete with another Arab country for the right to stage the 2019 edition of a tournament they have won a record seven times.