Premier League clubs are reportedly increasingly confident that next year's Africa Cup of Nations will be postponed due to the steep rise in coronavirus infections.
COVID-19 outbreaks have hit a growing number of top-flight teams over the past week or so, with the Premier League having now postponed nine games due to the virus - including six on Thursday alone.
The competition's board has insisted that they remain determined to fulfil the existing fixture schedule as much as possible, although rumours of a potential 'circuit-break' have grown stronger after Thursday's cancellations.
The new Omicron variant of COVID-19, which is thought to be the driving force behind the steep increase in cases, was first discovered in Africa, raising concerns over the Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon.
The CAF held a meeting this week in which they decided to press ahead with the tournament as planned, but the Daily Mail reports that the competition - due to be played from January 9 to February 6 - is now in serious doubt.
European clubs are reluctant to release their players for the tournament due to the risks posed by coronavirus, and the prospect of losing players to isolation on top of their time away with their national teams.
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations has already been postponed twice, and was initially due to be played in the summer of 2021.