Afcon qualifiers: Senegal FA writes French counterpart over decision to restrict 12 invited players

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On Wednesday, the presidents of French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs reached an agreement to restrict foreign players in the leagues from traveling for International break outside of Europe.

The Senegalese Football Federation who has 12 of their players in the French leagues, have written a letter to the French Football Federation (FFF) to allow their players to take part in the final round of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

On Wednesday, presidents of French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs agreed not to release any of their players for games outside of Europe

The Senegalese Football Federation have written a letter to the French Football Federation (FFF) to object to their decision to block players from participating in the final round of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs met on earlier this week and decided to keep their foreign players from travelling out of Europe during the international break due to the mandatory quarantine rules upon arrival back to their clubs.

The travel restriction came as a blow for Senegal coach Aliou Cisse whose 26-man squad for the games against Congo on March 26 and Eswatini on March 30, features 12 France-based stars.

The 12 players include Rennes goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, Reims striker Boulaye Dia, Monaco duo Fode Ballo-Toure and Krepin Diatta, PSG’s Abdou Diallo who earned his maiden call-up after dumping France for the West African country, amongst others.

Although Senegal has secured qualification for the AFCON 2022 tournament in Cameroon next year, the FSF in a letter signed by its General Secretary Victor Ciss protested against the late response of the French clubs to players’ invitations.

“The latter not having reacted within the period of six days foreseen cannot wait less than 5 days before the start of the international window ” from March 22 to 31″ to evoke a press release in order to justify a refusal to release so targeted foreign players summoned by matches outside the EU / EEA zone ” (European Union and European Economic Area), ” part of the letter read.

“In addition to the damage that this may cause, relative to the non-participation of the 12 players summoned by the Lions coach, it seems to me to highlight the totally discriminatory nature of this measure with regard to the statutory provisions and FIFA regulations and European legislation on equality and contractual freedom for players.”

The Senegalese FA finally pleaded with the French football association to work with the clubs and make their players available for next week’s matches.

“In this case, underlines the Senegalese party, it is by no means established that the clubs concerned have met the French authorities in order to allow the players to benefit from this exemption,” it continued.

“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 regularly summoned by the Senegalese Football Federation.”

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