Euro clubs raise AFCON safety concerns

World News

The board of the European Club Association (ECA) is seeking an urgent discussion with FIFA as they have safety concerns relating to the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. 

With the next AFCON fast approaching, the ECA, which represents more than 240 clubs, has expressed serious concerns about the safety of players who will be competing at the showpiece and in other international matches in early 2022 due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases around the world. 

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The tournament, which is set to be held in Cameroon, is scheduled to kick off on 9 January and end on 6 February 2022, and the ECA's primary motive behind the meeting request is the emergence of the new Omicron variant that was identified in the Southern African region of the continent, which has resulted in a number of countries introducing travel bans and restrictions over the past week. 

"The Board agreed to engage urgently with FIFA to ensure all necessary precautions are in place to protect players and club interests as the health situation continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner," the ECA said in a statement. 

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In September, a number of Premier League clubs refused to release players to countries on the United Kingdom's red list, which consisted of many of the nations that qualified for AFCON.

Eventually, an agreement was reached in October to allow fully vaccinated players to travel with their countries as long as they self-isolated for 10 days upon their return from international duty.

Read: FIFA slammed for 'disrespecting' AFCON

The ECA also said they unanimously disapproved of FIFA's proposal to have the FIFA World Cup every two years, citing the protection of players.

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