CAF asks UK politicos for break in covid travel exemptions

August 25 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has followed in the footsteps of world federation FIFA by requesting the British Government to grant an exemption to African players for the upcoming international window.

In September, World Cup qualifying for the 2022 finals in Qatar will kick off with a triple header in all ten groups across the continent. With a number of key personnel plying their trade in the English Premier League, including Liverpool stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, CAF has appealed to Boris Johnson and his government “as a matter of urgency”.

In a statement, the confederation wrote: “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.”

The statement echoes that of world governing body FIFA which also noted that England facilitated travel for the final stages of Euro 2020. CAF’s voice adds to the increasing tension between FIFA and some of Europe’s major leagues – the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A – over the refusal to release players for national team duty. The clubs have taken issue with quarantine rules for players returning from red zones.

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