The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has pleaded with British authorities to release African players plying their trade within England’s professional football leagues so they could take part in forthcoming international fixtures just like it did with European players who took part in the July Euro 2020 finals.
This comes after English Premier League clubs announced recently it will not release players for international matches played in so-called “red-list” countries next month.
The League announced Tuesday players who travelled to red-list countries would have to follow coronavirus quarantine regulations upon their return, ruling them out of several of their club’s matches.
But in statement, CAF indicated it has requested the Football Association (FA) and the British government to release African players to take part in the World Cup qualifiers.
CAF said Africa had the least Covid-19 cases, rendering it less hazardous for players than Covid-19 burdened European countries.
The continental football body reiterated “that the upcoming matches will be delivered under the strict protocols developed by FIFA and applied across the world, as was the case in previous windows and continental tournaments successfully delivered without any incidents”.
Zimbabwe has also been affected by the ban on the release of African players with Aston Villa star Marvelous Nakamba set to miss the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against neighbours South Africa and Ethiopia.
READ FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
CAF has noted the current circumstances in place in Britain regarding the lack of sporting exemptions for players returning from several African countries after the international window next week
CAF, acting on behalf of all African Member Associations, African players and fans, has urged the British Government to urgently provide the required exemptions to enable African players to compete for their countries in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™️ qualifiers.
CAF notes that similar exemptions were granted by the British Government to enable the attendance of delegations and officials, amongst others, at the finals of the European Championship held less than two months ago.
It is further noted that the circumstances in the African countries on the red list in many cases are in fact less severe than other countries not currently on this list or for which exemptions were previously provided.
Furthermore, CAF would like to reiterate that the upcoming matches will be delivered under the strict protocols developed by FIFA and applied across the world, as was the case in previous windows and continental tournaments successfully delivered without any incidents.
These protocols have now proven beyond a doubt that they mitigate the risks involved, reflecting the success of commensurate protocols applied domestically in England and other parts of the world.
In light of the above, CAF has appealed as a matter of urgency, to the Football Association (FA) and the British Government that the same treatment previously applied to Europe now be extended to Africa under the principles of solidarity and equal treatment.