December 1 – The World Leagues Forum, representing professional leagues from across the world, has written to FIFA and African football’s hierarchy denouncing what it claims is a unilateral decision, with no consultation, over the release of players for the upcoming African Nations Cup in Cameroon in January and February.
In the latest club versus country row, the body has written to both Veron Mosengo-Omba, General Secretary of the Confederation of African Football, and to FIFA deputy general secretary Mattias Grafstrom, asking for an explanation as to why CAF has suddenly increased the number of players per squad, especially given fresh fears over the Covid pandemic.
“It has come to our knowledge that CAF has decided to increase the number of players that each national association can call up from 23 to 28.” said the emailed letter written by World Leagues Forum general secretary Jerome Perlemuter.
“Firstly, the relevance of this decision can be questioned from a sporting and from a health perspective with more players travelling to Africa in the context of the current pandemic.
“Secondly, and also of great significance, CAF’s decision affects the integrity of domestic leagues and their clubs since most players will leave for Africa in the middle of their sporting season.
“In terms of process, this decision has been made unilaterally with no discussion whatsoever and no agreement by leagues and their clubs. We also understand that no discussion has taken place with players’ representatives.”
“There is now an accumulation of decisions adverse to leagues, clubs and players, either made without any discussion or against their position on the 2022 AFCON.”
The World Leagues Forum says that whatever legitimacy of the regulations, “decisions about national team competitions cannot be made in isolation using FIFA’s regulations to their sole benefit without considering this impact.”
“In addition, we would like to convey our concerns on the competition from an organisational and health protocol standpoint.”
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