Africa Cup of Nations safety concerns: European seeking talks with FIFA

Europe’s top clubs want talks with FIFA after raising concerns over player safety at next month's Africa Cup of Nations

European Clubs Association (ECA) want urgent talks with FIFA over concerns about the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and other international football taking place in Q1 2022. The ECA board expressed its deep concerns about whether players would be safe.

Countries around the world have introduced new restrictions – including travel bans – since the emergence of the omicron variant.

The AFCON takes place between January 9th and February 6th, while there are also international windows in other confederations starting on January 24th and running until February 1st or 2nd.

An ECA statement added that this came “particularly in light of the worsening public health situation and the severe challenges faced during recent international windows”.

The statement continued: “The board agreed to engage urgently with FIFA to ensure all necessary precautions are in place to protect players and club interests as the health situation continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner.”

The ECA also discussed FIFA’s proposals for a biennial World Cup and reiterated its “unanimous” opposition to the biennial World Cup tournament, a position that represents over 240 clubs across the continent.

It said the new international football calendars must ensure the “right balance” between the club and international game, afford the necessary safeguards and protections to players which it said were disregarded in the current proposals.

Mido: Fifa Club World Cup dates ‘disrespectful’ to Africa

Former Egypt and Premier League striker Mido has hit back at the news that FIFA’s Club World Cup will now be re-scheduled and cross over with the AFCON.

Following the withdrawal of hosts Japan – on precautionary health grounds, with the country having battled its worst wave of infections yet – the competition will now take part in February as AFCON reaches its peak.

After hearing the news, former striker Mido has hit back at the decision and suggested that it shows a blatant disregard for African football.

“Fifa deciding to hold the Club World Cup while Afcon is going on is a sign of disrespect to African football. It wouldn’t have been the case with the Euros or Copa America,” Mido said on Twitter.

Al Hilal will face the winner between hosts Al Jazira and New Zealand side Auckland while Egyptian giants Al Ahly will take on Mexican side Monterrey and the winner will face Copa Libertadores winner Palmeiras in the semi-finals.

Bundesliga serial champions Bayern are the defending champions, but they will not defend their title after being eliminated in the 2020-21 Champions League quarter-finals.

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