European clubs express ‘deep worries’ ahead of AFCON

The European Club Association (ECA) has voiced “deep concerns” regarding player welfare prior to the start of the Africa Cup of Nations, and also has asked FIFA for an urgent meeting.

The independent body emphasized the “worsening public health situation” following the discovery of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in South Africa last month.

The latest developments could spark a new round of squabbles over the release of players for international duty next month.

The Cameroon Nations Cup begins on 9 January and runs until 6 February, while some other confederations have another international window between 24 January and 2 February.

As the health situation “continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner,” the ECA wants to work with FIFA to “ensure all necessary precautions are in place to protect players and club interests.”

Because of concerns about the impact of the Omicron variant, countries have begun to reintroduce travel bans, quarantine requirements, and other restrictions.

The United Kingdom has added ten countries in southern Africa to its travel blacklist.

The ECA is said to have been eager to avoid a reoccurrence of the issues that happened during the September international window.

Premier League clubs refused to release players for duty in red-list countries at the time because they would have had to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for ten days upon their return to the UK.

Four Argentina internationals based in England did report for duty, but their presence forced the cancellation of Argentina’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Brazil on September 5th.

Brazilian health officials stated that the four players in question – Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, as well as Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero – had violated local quarantine rules, putting the UK on Brazil’s red list.

Meanwhile, the ECA has expressed “unanimous” opposition to a biennial World Cup, a proposal backed by the Confederation of African Football.

Fifa President Gianni Infantino wants the tournament, which will be expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 edition, to be held every two years rather than every four years.

The ECA, chaired by Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, claims to represent over 240 European professional clubs, with European clubs providing nearly 90% of the players who competed in the World Cup knockout stages in Russia in 2018.

It stated that the new international match calendars for men’s and women’s football must ensure the “right balance” between club and international football, and that any decision – making should take the tone of professional football and the ECA into account.

Source BBC
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.