Independent Online

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Relief for Premier League clubs as African players allowed to stay with teams before Afcon

Liverpool will be glad that Mohamed Salah will be able to play for them until 3 January before heading to Afcon with Egypt. | Oli Scarff AFP

Liverpool will be glad that Mohamed Salah will be able to play for them until 3 January before heading to Afcon with Egypt. | Oli Scarff AFP

Published Dec 26, 2021

Share

By Mark Gleeson

FOOTBALLERS heading to next month’s Africa Cup of Nations will be allowed to play for their clubs until 3 January, Caf said on Sunday.

Story continues below Advertisement

Many were set to miss matches because of the rule that dictates clubs must release players 14 days before a continental championship or the World Cup.

But Caf has agreed to allow players whose clubs have matches between 27 December and 3 January to play them before joining up with their national squads for Afcon, which kicks off in Cameroon on 9 January.

ALSO READ: Liverpool’s Sadio Mane headlines Senegal squad for Africa Cup of Nations

That will come as a relief to English clubs who had been due to lose their African players by the official release date of 27 December, although some had made individual arrangements for players to stay with them for as long as possible before the start of the tournament.

"“his decision is taken in the spirit of goodwill and solidarity with the affected clubs in recognition of the fact that they, like all members of the football community, have been adversely affected by the onset of the Covid pandemic,” said a Fifa letter sent on Sunday to the World Leagues Forum and the European Leagues grouping.

Both organisations have been critical of the timing of Afcon in the middle of the club season in Europe, where the majority of players involved in the tournament play their club football.

Story continues below Advertisement

ALSO READ: Caf president Patrice Motsepe confirms Afcon is on despite ’enormous challenge’ of Covid-19 surge

But Fifa said that Caf had decided to offer relief to clubs.

“It is also assumed that a spirit of mutual cooperation remains between Caf and all relevant stakeholders in this regard, including related to the release of players and the provision of sporting exemptions to travel and quarantine restrictions if required in the future,” added the letter from Fifa deputy general secretary Mattias Grafstrom.

Story continues below Advertisement

The timing of the Afcon has long been a bone of contention for club managers, and future tournaments are scheduled to played in mid-year. | Reuters

Share