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CAF fires back at Platini for seeking AFCON postponement

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com

An all-out war has broken out between CAF and UEFA as Africa’s football governing body has launched a scathing attack at the European body’s president Michel Platini describing his quest for the postponement of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as ‘treachery’.

CAF angrily lashed out at Platini over his comments calling for the postponement of the 2015 AFCON following the outbreak of the Ebola virus urging the Frenchman not to interfere in African affairs.

Platini, who is seen in many African football circles as an anti-African, waded into the Ebola virus controversy by stating that following the outbreak of the disease, the tournament must be postponed as he seeks to prevent European clubs from releasing African players for the continent’s flagship competition early next year.

Sensing a calculated attempt by Platini to demonize and stigmatize the African Cup of Nations, CAF has attacked the president of UEFA urging him to concentrate on matters that affect his confederation.

In a press statement released at midnight, CAF hit back at the UEFA boss pointing out that football activities sanctioned by the Europe governing body continue in Ukraine despite the war in the country.

In a televised broadcast on the evening of Sunday, 19 October 2014, Platini, questioned maintaining the scheduled date of the Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2015 which has infuriated CAF.

“CAF under the leadership of its President, Issa Hayatou, has always promoted free expression within it. Far from it therefore, claim to deprive anyone latitude to express themselves,” CAF said in the press release published on its official website.

“But we must beware of what appears in every way as interference by a president of a Confederation, in cases involving first and foremost Africa and CAF.

“Under the principle of non-interference required to comply, CAF has refrained so far to comment on some issues on the managing of European football or any other continent.”

CAF pointed to the UEFA boss that despite the shooting down of a passenger plane in Ukraine and the ongoing civil war in the country, Europe’s governing body has sanctioned matches in the nation despite threat to human life.

“Despite the risks involved in armed conflict in Ukraine, a country where a civilian plane was shot down killing nearly 300 people, UEFA did not consider it necessary to exclude Ukrainian clubs from its competitions as a security parameter by hosting games outside this nation, as treacherously raised once it is about Africa,” the statement further said.

“CAF hereby reaffirm the importance it attaches to respect of its sovereignty and does not intend to let anyone interfere in the management of its affairs.”

Three west African countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – have been worst hit by the deadly Ebola outbreak and CAF has complied by World Health Organisation (WHO)’s ruling that only these three countries must not play matches at home.

However, Platini made reference to the World Health Organization (WHO) to justify their support for a deferral of the championship without stating that the United Nations body only prevented the three countries from organzing matches.

“This is without any reference to a single recommendation of that organization (WHO) that the postponement of any sporting event on the African continent or outside, in other countries where cases are reported, with which the CAF has been in constant contact since the beginning of the epidemic on the continent,” CAF said in its statement.

“Apart from the three countries heavily affected by the epidemic namely; Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the WHO has clearly indicated to CAF on the need to avoid huge gatherings, that measure for now only applies to no other country on the continent.”

Guinea and Sierra Leone play home fixtures outside their borders, and neither team are likely qualifiers for the 2015 Nations Cup.

Liberia were eliminated in the preliminary rounds.

The latest World Health Organisation figures put the death toll at 4,555 people out of a total of 9,216 cases registered in seven countries.

Morocco, due to host the biennial continental showcase from January 17 to February 8, appealed last week to have the tournament delayed due to Ebola which has claimed over 4,500 lives.

This met with a stiff reply from organisers, with the CAF saying the event would go ahead as planned, with or without Morocco.

The rift between Africa and Platini has been simmering for months as he has been accused of championing new rules to weaken African football including the recent rule preventing European countries from playing friendlies against countries outside the UEFA confederation.

This damages Platini’s chances of winning the FIFA presidency as several countries in Africa which mostly decides on who wins the global body’s leadership race, are strongly opposed to the Frenchman.

Platini, 59, has no regrets for not running against Blatter who is likely to secure a fifth term at next year’s elections.

The former France great, who led Les Bleus to their Euro 1984 title, was re-elected as UEFA president in 2011.

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