The European Clubs Association (ECA) is keen to ensure African players are not let go to play in the forthcoming AFCON tournament scheduled to take place in Cameroon.
The ECA has asked FIFA regarding the release of African players prior to the next month’s AFCON tournament, which will begin from 9th January to 6th February 2022.
The ECA is arguing because of its rapid spreading of Omicron virus to justify the reason for clubs to not let players participate in the tournament because of quarantine relegation on their return.
In their declaration, they say African countries won’t be able to guarantee the safety of their players affected by the COVID-19 strain, as they are enrolled in their respective national teams.
A portion of the ECA statement to FIFA read, “The three fundamental and legitimate concerns must translate, in ECA’s view, into three very clear principles that must be respected. (I) It is the obligation of each National Association that wishes to call a player for national duty to establish to the satisfaction of the respective clubs that all applicable medical protocols have been implemented and will be strictly enforced (as we all know and as is public information various National Associations have recently failed to properly implement protocols, oftentimes with worrying degrees of negligence. (II) there cannot be mandatory release in circumstances where the release period’s duration would necessitate players missing official club matches.(III) the unavailability of players for club activities cannot extend beyond the agreed release periods (eg. quarantine or travel restrictions meaning that players would be unavailable for longer than the release period).
“Against this background, please note that, at its meeting of December 2, 2021, the ECA Executive Board unanimously re-confirmed its position that the three prenicples referred to above must be strictly respected and, should this not be case, that players not be released for national duty“.
European clubs are scheduled to release players between December 27 and their respective national teams in accordance with the rules prior to the tournament.
The top leagues in Europe are oiled by the power of African footballers such as Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane of Liverpool as well as the Algerian Riyad Mahrez, Thomas Partey of Ghana, and the Gabone’s Pierre Aubameyang will be robbed of their excitement when the players decide to leave for their nations.
The methods employed of those in the European media as well as the ECA is viewed by many in Africa as a strategy to strip Africa of the top players that do not want to make it seem exciting.
Below is the statement;