A number of Premier League clubs will be hit hard next season due to the rescheduling of the African Nations Cup and Tokyo Olympics.
The African Nations Cup will revert back to a European winter schedule in 2021 with the competition in Cameroon scheduled to take place in January and February.
That move has been exacerbated by the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games due to the pandemic. Originally due to take place in July and August this year, the Olympics could be moved to a spring date instead.
It is unclear when the 2020-21 season will commence due to uncertainty as to when the current campaign will finish, but the dates will almost certainly clash with those of the African Nations ad Olympic tournaments.
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Although none of Frank Lampard’s first-team squad are eligible to play at the African Nations Cup, the club’s marquee summer signing from Ajax, Hakim Ziyech, most certainly is.
The 26-year-old will join the Blues in a deal which could rise to £36.6m and he is expected to become an integral member of the side next term.
Problematically for Chelsea, though, Ziyech is likely to have to leave the club in January in order to compete at the African Nations Cup with Morocco, who will be one of the favourites to win it.
While the current schedule is now subject to change, the competition is currently set to take place between January 9 and February 6 which means Ziyech could miss up to five weeks of the domestic season should Morocco reach the final.
The rescheduled Olympic games could also impact Premier League clubs too. So far 14 nations out of 16 have qualified for the tournament and although Chelsea are unlikely to be affected by the presence of any of those nations in Tokyo, USA could clinch one of the remaining two places.
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