Sunday Mar 21, 2021. 13:00
The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) claims the French professional league (LFP) has acted in a “totally discriminatory manner” by banning foreign players from being released by Ligue 1 and 2 clubs for the impending international window.
The decision has severely affected many African teams’ preparations for the conclusion of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, with the Teranga Lions one of the hardest hit.
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse previously named a squad of 26 which featured 12 players based in the top two leagues in France, and they are now ruled out of the clashes against Congo and Eswatini.
Cisse’s side has at least already qualified for the next AFCON, but there are many other teams which could see their campaigns derailed by an absence of key players.
FIFA stated in February that clubs were not expected to release players if there was a “mandatory period of quarantine or self-isolation of at least five days upon arrival” in the country where the club is located or the country where the match is taking place, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response to the decision taken by the LFP, the FSF claim the blanket ban is against the rules and argued that clubs had exceeded the deadline to refuse to release players, taking 12 days against a maximum of the six days allowed once a call-up is received.
In addition, the FSF accused clubs of not having attempted to contact French authorities to find out whether the players could benefit from an exemption from the seven-day isolation period imposed on travellers coming from non-EU destinations.
“Taking all these considerations into account, we would be grateful if you, in view of the very short deadlines and the damage incurred, kindly take the appropriate measures for the release, by the French professional clubs, players summoned by the Senegalese Football Federation,” the FSF added.