English clubs refuse to release African players for World Cup qualifiers
It is astonishment in Cairo. Mohamed Salah, the star of Egyptian and Liverpool football, will not play this Thursday, September 2 for the Pharaohs. The national team must face Angola in the framework of the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. The case of Mohamed Salah is not isolated. About sixty players are concerned, the majority of which are African players.
Refusal of English clubs to set up a quarantine for their players returning from a country at risk
Indeed, English Premier League clubs do not want players called up with their international squads if they play, during the September break, matches in a country on the United Kingdom’s red list due to the Covid-19. African countries like Kenya, Egypt or Ethiopia are on this red list.
The body that organizes the Championship especially wants to prevent having to quarantine them for ten days on their return to England.
Senegal is not on the red list. The other great African player of Liverpool, Sadio Mané is authorized to play against Togo with his selection this Wednesday, September 2.
FIFA threatens, CAF calls for an exceptional measure
Such a measure « Would not only be very harmful for the well-being and health of the players, but it would also make them unavailable to prepare and play two days of the Premier League, one day of European competitions, and the third round of the League Cup « , said the Premier League. The measure concerns about sixty players from 19 clubs.
FIFA was quick to rule. In a statement, she reminded English clubs of « Rules to which they are subject ». If they really refused to release their players, they would be « In a situation of non-compliance », writes the instance, and would therefore potentially be punishable.
The African Football Confederation has asked the British government to grant exemptions to African footballers so that they can participate in qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup. This request has been ignored.
Clubs more accommodating with the European selections?
This decision is deemed unfair by CAF. She notes that English clubs were much more accommodating during Euro 2020. « CAF notes that similar exemptions have been granted by the British government to allow the participation of delegations and officials, among others, in the final of the European Championship which was held less than two months ago » , regrets CAF.
On the Egyptian side, in any case, the authorities hope that the situation can change.
The Egyptian coach wants to be optimistic. « The football manager tries and we try, but I cannot tell you that he will be there for the second game against GabonHossam El Badry, Egypt’s head coach, hopes.