The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has condemned the statements made by Aurelio De Laurentiis, the president of Napoli, discouraging African players from competing in the Africa cup of nations (Afcon) competition.
De Laurentiis vowed to never sign players from the continent unless they consented to skip the competition.
The Napoli president believes it is unjust for European clubs to continue paying such players' salaries while also serving other interests in Africa.
Afcon was moved to January and February due to unfavorable weather in the West African countries serving as hosts during the months of June and July. However, the dates conflict with the football seasons in the majority of European countries.
African players are some of the biggest stars propelling European clubs to win trophies at the top level, and it would be a shame to see them skip national football. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Edouard Mendy are just a few of the players that have helped their teams win significant games and important championships.
In a recent statement, CAF requested that De Laurentiis face disciplinary action from the football governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA.
The statement reads, "CAF is shocked by the irresponsible and inappropriate remarks made by Mr. Aurelio De Laurentiis, President of Napoli, regarding African players and the Africa Cup of Nations. De Laurentiis' remarks are probably in violation of Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations because he publicly stated that players who sign for Napoli must sign a waiver that forbids them from competing in the Africa Cup of Nations as a condition of employment. Therefore, CAF requests that UEFA open a disciplinary case against him”.
CAF added "We have no doubt that Napoli and UEFA are as committed as CAF is to these global humanitarian objectives," said CAF. "We are committed to the role that football plays in Africa, Europe, North and South America, Asia, and globally in bringing together and uniting people of different cultures, language groups, races, ethnic groups, and religious backgrounds."
"Are we to believe that the Chairman of Napoli would impose restrictions on players from South America, Asia, and other confederations that prevent them from participating in their continental competitions, which are crucial for the expansion and development of football internationally?" the statement continued.
The African Cup of Nations is one of the premier football tournaments in the world and the most important football event for the African continent. More than 600 million people watched its most recent Cameroonian edition, which was broadcast in more than 160 nations.
It remains to be seen if FIFA and UEFA are going to take any action against Mr. De Laurentiis. A lot of national football associations and other stakeholders all around Africa are upset by his views.