French Ligue 1 relegation battlers Dijon FCO have decided not to release their African internationals for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers. On the other hand, the Europeans will be able to join their respective national teams.
Like many other French clubs, Dijon has chosen not to release its African internationals, as the fifth and sixth qualifying rounds for the 2021 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon. The matches will be played between 24 and 30 March.
FIFA had announced in February that due to the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, clubs could not release their internationals. The body temporarily relaxed the rules on the release of players, which is now optional if a quarantine or self-isolation period of at least five days is mandatory from the time of arrival at the club's premises or at the place where the national team match is supposed to be played.
In France, the authorities have imposed a seven-day isolation period on all travelers returning from abroad. Several African federations have contacted the French Ministry of Sports to try to obtain a reduction in the period of isolation, without success so far.
As a result, several African players will not leave Dijon during the international break. They are Saturnin Allagbé (Benin), Bruno Ecuele Manga and Didier Ndong (Gabon), Ngonda Muzinga (DR Congo), Pape Cheikh Diop (Senegal), Mama Baldé (Guinea-Bissau), Aboubakar Kamara (Mauritania) and Senou Coulibaly (Mali).
On the other hand, Kosovar Bersant Celina and Swiss Anthony Racioppi will be able to honour their call-up. The former will play two World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Sweden and Spain and a friendly against Lithuania, while the latter will play with the Swiss U-21 team.