The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has requested that the British Government and Football Association (FA) should “urgently provide the required exemptions to enable African players to compete for their countries in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.”
The request followed the British FAs’ decision not to release African players for international fixtures billed for Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers next month in Red list countries,
Earlier, on Tuesday, the Premier League released a statement on it’s Website stating that “Premier League clubs have today reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red-list countries next month.”
“The clubs’ decision, which is strongly supported by the Premier League, will apply to nearly 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs who are due to travel to 26 red-list countries in the September international window.
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) President, Gianni Infantino, in solidarity with CAF wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request exemptions for players due to play in red-list countries.
The British Government, however, disclosed to Skysports and insisted that “public health is their top priority and concerns over foreign variants mean there is no way the rules can be relaxed for professional footballers.”
Sequel to the statement of the FA and British Government, CAF on her website released a press statement on Wednesday requesting for an exemption for players returning from several African countriesafter the international window next week. The statement reads:
“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.”
Quarantine requirements for returning travellers into UK is a period of 10 days and requires two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on the second and eighth day of self-isolation which will ultimately affect the “match fitness of players” and this has culminated to clubscoming to the “conclusion that it would be entirely unreasonable to release players under these new circumstances.”
According to Independent.co.uk, the following are the Red-listcountries: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo(Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Similarly, Serie A has gone to the bat for clubs not releasing players to countries where they would have to quarantine on their return to Italy. Laliga also said, it would support any club not willing to release players for international duty.