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Cup of Nations to be moved; Man City in further tapping up allegations

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal didn’t do too badly when it came to the Africa Cup of Nations last time around – Elneny was called up to play for Egypt, but as he wasn’t seen as central to the team at the time, it wasn’t a departure that was keenly missed.

But it hasn’t always been like this, and matters are now due to change as in the next Cup of Nations the event will take place in June and July 2019.   That might help a little – but the downside is that the competition will take in eight more countries in the final stage, meaning there is a greater chance of players being used through the summer, possibly injured, and certainly delayed in terms of their return for pre-season training in… July.

The other idea that has been on the table has been the transfer of part of the competition to an area outside of the African continent, and the involvement of non-African countries.  Both ideas have been rejected.

Cameroon, the current holders, will host the first summer finals, and 24 nations to be included in the competition for the first time.   However there are already suggestions (denied) that the stadia are not going to be ready.   An inspection will be conducted in September to check that all is on track.

Cameroon sports minister, Ismael Bidoung has said, “I would like to reassure national and international opinion that the government is fully committed to fulfilling the Caf’s specifications and, to date, no Caf mission has reported any delay in preparations.”

But just in case there are delays, Morocco has said it will be available.  “Morocco will not hesitate for a second to respond favourably to any invitation to host this Nations Cup,” said their football association president, Faouzi Lekjaa.

Africa’s Champions League and Confederation Cup tournaments will also now follow the European timetable and run from August to May.   In the past they have run through the calendar year.

Meanwhile continuing the cross-continent theme, following Rangers unseasonable exit from the Europa League Galatasaray have followed suit by going out in the preliminary rounds.  They were 2-0 down from the first leg of their tie with Sweden’s Ostersund.  They were expected to overcome this in the return game in Turkey, but the result was a 1-1 draw, knocking them out.

Everton are also in the Europa and have to play in the preliminary rounds.  The also lost their first leg match but have now won 2-0 at Norwegian club Brann to overturn their 1-0 first-leg deficit.

Activity in the Champions League has not all been sweetness and light after problems in the match in Northern Ireland between Linfield and Celtic.   Leigh Griffiths of Celtic has been given a one-match Champions League ban for provoking Linfield fans.  His first false move was to complain to the referee about a bottle being thrown in his direction as he prepared to take a corner.  His complaint led to him being given a yellow card.

That looked ludicrous but the player didn’t help himself by tying a Celtic scarf to one of the goalposts at the end of the match – and so he was banned.  The club was fined €4,500 while Linfield were ordered to close part of their ground for the next European fixture and fined €10,000.

But the matter continues as Uefa have charged Celtic with allowing the display of illicit banners in the return match which Celtic won 4-0.  They are also charged with stairways being blocked and kit infringement.   The kit charge is said to centre on Celtic’s warm-up bibs bearing a sponsor’s name, which is against Article 62 of Uefa rules.  Pesky things these rules.

Meanwhile Monaco are said to be reporting some “important European football clubs” for making illegal approaches for Mbappe.  Manchester City, Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain and Arsenal would be the obvious ones to be cited although the word doing the rounds is that Arsenal are clear and it is Manchester City, Real Mad and PSG who are in trouble.

English clubs routinely engage in tapping up – Liverpool and Manchester City are the obvious most recent examples, and Man City have already been banned by the Premier League from signing academy players for two years, the second 12 months of which is suspended, for tapping up two schoolboys, one aged 11.   A new offence would not only bring its own punishment but also bring forth the second year of the ban already in place.

And we are still waiting to hear from the Court of Arbitration for Sport over allegations from Argentine club Velez Sarsfield that Manchester City made an illegal approach for Benjamin Garre.  If guilty Manchester City would probably get a full ban from registering new players for two transfer windows.  If then found guilty in the Mbappe case that would grow.

The Index of Indexes

3 comments to Cup of Nations to be moved; Man City in further tapping up allegations

  • Andy Mack

    Although the ACN change is definately a positive, the fact that they insist on it remaining as an event that takes place every 2 years makes it clear that it’s main purpose is as a money making tool for the national associations.
    However the move to the ‘European Summer’ does mean that African players will be more positively thought of by the top European clubs. Whereas previously only the very best were considered ‘worth the risk’, so the more average players had to prove themselves with lesser teams and hope they would be seen as exceptional enough to be bought by a top team.
    As for 24 teams being involved, what would you expect after Fifa do exactly the same with the WC, increasing the number of teams just to increase their own revenue…

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Ahmad Ahmad, who defeated Issa Hayatou by 34 votes to 20 in the last Confederation of African Football (CAF) president election that was held in Casablanca in March this year is a stooge president of Caf. His victory in that election was stage managed and facilitated through the connivance of both Fifa and Uefa who planned and made sure he won that last Caf election. So that he will facilitate the change of the calendar time for the hosting of the bi-anual Afcon tournament from the traditional harmattan period in the months of January – February (which is the dominat weather that’s run across all the African nations at that time of the year) to the Uefa’s football season calendar that’s run between the months of August – July.

    Mr Issa Hayatou had for a long resisted the overtures from Fifa and Uefa to change the African football season calendar to conform with that of Uefa so that the European top club sides who have top African footballers playing in their teams will not have to release these players to go and play in Afcon when it is hosting.

    I can’t fault Mr Hayatou for protecting what is football African tradition which is indigenous to Africa. But only God knows what amount of money Mr Ahmad Ahmad and those delegates that voted for him to become president in that last Caf president election received from FiFa and Uefa before they agree to do their biddings.

    If the African football calendar change to align with that of Uefa’s calendar had been respectfully negotiated between Caf and Uefa as per the request of Uefa and an amicable agreement is reached to effect the change by both parties, no one will be against the change. But to effect this change by crook method is most appalling and pathetic.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Ahmad Ahmad, who defeated Issa Hayatou by 34 votes to 20 in the last Confederation of African Football (CAF) president election that was held in Casablanca in March this year is a stooge president of Caf. His victory in that election was stage managed and facilitated through the connivance of both Fifa and Uefa who planned and made sure he won that last Caf president election. So that he will facilitate the change of the calendar time for the hosting of the bi-anual Afcon tournament from the traditional harmattan period in the months of January – February (which is the dominat weather that’s run across all the African nations at that time of the year) to the Uefa’s football season calendar that’s run between the months of August – July.

    Mr Issa Hayatou during his tenure had for long resisted the overtures from Fifa and Uefa to change the African football season calendar to conform with that of Uefa so that the European top club sides who have top African footballers playing in their teams will not have to release these players to go and play in Afcon when it is hosting.

    I can’t fault Mr Hayatou for protecting what is African football tradition which is indigenous to Africa. But only God knows what amount of money Mr Ahmad Ahmad and those delegates that voted for him to become president in that last Caf president election received from FiFa and Uefa before they agree to do their biddings.

    If the African football season calendar change to align it with that of Uefa’s football season calendar had been respectfully negotiated for, between Caf and Uefa as per the request of Uefa and an amicable agreement is reached to effect the change by both parties, no one will be against the change. But to effect this change by crook and dubious methods is most appalling and pathetic and unacceptable.

    Sorry for my to repost twice.