The European Club Association (ECA) does not want to release its players for the African Cup of Nations to be played from 9 January to 6 February 2022. The main reason is the health protocol put in place by CAF.
Will the 2021 African Cup of Nations be held in January? There has been a lot of conflicting information in the last few days. After the idea of a relocation, it is the idea of a postponement that is making the news on Wednesday. The European Club Association (ECA) has written a letter to FIFA to find a way to retain its players. The contents of this letter has gone viral.
The concerns of the European teams relate in particular to the health protocol. As the Omicron variant begins to spread in Africa. "As far as the applicable protocols are concerned, to our knowledge, the Confederation of African Football has not yet made available an appropriate medical and operational protocol for the tournament. (...) For some clubs that should be releasing players, including English and French clubs, national competition matches have to take place until the beginning of January and therefore the overlap with the dates of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (with selections able to call up their players from 27 December) is unmanageable.
The fear of quarantine
If the competition will deprive them of players from the end of December, European clubs also fear for the return of their players. Some countries are indeed on the red list. As a result, those coming from these countries are quarantined for a few days and even two weeks in some cases. This will result in further days of absence.
"With regard to the quarantine arrangements, it seems very likely that the various restrictions will affect travel to and from the places concerned. (...) For the avoidance of doubt, clubs will have every right not to release any player for whom travel restrictions or mandatory quarantine apply." The ECA said.
CAF for its part assures that the competition will indeed take place.