The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has responded to Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis’ claims discouraging African players to participate in the Afcon competition.
De Laurentiis vowed never to sign players from the continent unless they agree not to play in the tournament.
The Napoli boss feels it’s unfair for European clubs to keep paying salaries to such players while representing other interests.
The Afcon was rescheduled to January and February due adverse weather conditions in host nations in West Africa during the June/July period, and the new dates clash with the football season in most European countries.
In a statement, CAF has urged UEFA to take disciplinary action against De Laurentiis.
“CAF is appalled by the irresponsible and unacceptable remarks made by Napoli President, Mr Aurelio De Laurentiis on African players and the Africa Cup of Nations,” reads the statement.
“By publicly declaring that players who sign for Napoli must sign a waiver denouncing participation in the Africa Cup of Nations as a condition of employment, De Laurentiis’ comments likely to fall under Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations. CAF therefore urges UEFA to initiate disciplinary investigation against him.
“CAF is committed to the role that football plays in Africa, Europe, North and South America, Asia and globally of bringing together and uniting people of different cultures, language groups, races, ethnic groups and religious backgrounds.
“We have no doubt that Napoli and UEFA are as committed as CAF is to these global humanitarian objectives.”
The statement continues: “Are we to assume that the Chairman of Napoli is going to include similar restrictive conditions to players from South America, Asia and other Confederations prohibiting them from playing in their Continental competitions which are important for the development and growth of football globally?
“The African Cup of Nations is the flagship competition of the African continent and one of the leading global football competitions. Its last edition in Cameroon was shown in more than 160 countries and attracted more than 600 million viewers.”