The Confederation of African Football has appealed to the British government to allow African players to travel for next month’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
After Liverpool blocked Mohamed Salah’s invitation to Egypt’s squad, the Premier League announced that other clubs will not release their players to travel to red-list countries due to fears of the coronavirus.
However, Fifa responded to the statement with a personal message from President Gianni Infantino to British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on Wednesday.
The African football body has also asked the British government to grant exemption to the continent’s stars for the second round of the World Cup qualifiers that will start in September.
“Caf has noted the current circumstances in place in Britain regarding the lack of sporting exemptions for players returning from several African countries after the international window next week,” read the statement on its website.
“Caf, acting on behalf of all African Member Associations, African players and fans, has urged the British Government to urgently provide the required exemptions to enable African players to compete for their countries in the upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.
“Caf notes that similar exemptions were granted by the British Government to enable the attendance of delegations and officials, amongst others, at the finals of the European Championship held less than two months ago.”
Caf also added that the situation of African countries in the red-list is not as serious as other foreign nations.
“It is further noted that the circumstances in the African countries on the red list in many cases are in fact less severe than other countries not currently on this list or for which exemptions were previously provided,” it continued.
“Furthermore, Caf would like to reiterate that the upcoming matches will be delivered under the strict protocols developed by Fifa and applied across the world, as was the case in previous windows and continental tournaments successfully delivered without any incidents.
“These protocols have now proven beyond a doubt that they mitigate the risks involved, reflecting the success of commensurate protocols applied domestically in England and other parts of the world.
“In light of the above, Caf has appealed as a matter of urgency, to the Football Association (FA) and the British Government that the same treatment previously applied to Europe now be extended to Africa under the principles of solidarity and equal treatment.”