The Senegalese soccer federation says it will turn to FIFA if the Premier League club refuses to release the player at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Senegal’s football authorities have accused English club Watford of refusing to release Ismaila Sarr for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations and will call for FIFA’s intervention.
The country’s football federation said on Sunday that Watford had told him on Friday that he would not release the highly regarded midfielder for the tournament in Cameroon which kicks off next Sunday and where Senegal is one of the favorites.
“The English club Watford have, on the basis of false arguments, informed their decision to block the player Ismaila Sarr, who expressed his desire to join the Senegalese selection for the Nations Cup,” reads a statement signed by the Senegalese soccer federation’s general secretary Victor. See Cisse.
“The FSF [Senegal football governing body] “responded immediately to confirm the player’s call and the club’s obligation to release the player by no later than 3 January.”
It added Senegal would take up the matter with FIFA as “Watford persist in its deliberate refusal to release the player”.
“The FSF wants to express its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behavior of Watford who by all means endeavors to prevent a player from playing with his national team.
“Africa, its football and its football players deserve the same respect as those awarded to other continents, confederations and players. The FSF will take all necessary steps to ensure that the basic right of its soccer players to play for their country is respected. ”
Watford have refused to let Ismaïla Sarr join AFCON in Senegal.
This is despite the negotiation of an agreement that allowed Sarr to join as Senegal reach the quarter-finals.@FSFofficial condemned the decision as “reprehensible” and “discriminatory”. pic.twitter.com/VTPYrbGNVK
– African Insider (@African_Insider) 2 January 2022
The Senegalese football federation’s statement comes amid an escalating quarrel over English clubs that refused or delayed the departure of African players to take part in the tournament.
Former England international Ian Wright has said he is outraged at some of the media’s coverage of the 24-team tournament, which he described as “mixed with racism”.
“We have played our Euros in 10 countries in the midst of a pandemic and there is no problem. But Cameroon, a single country hosting a tournament, is a problem,” he said.
“There are players who are asked if they will respect the calls to their national teams. Imagine if it was an English player representing the Three Lions. Can you imagine the anger? ”
Wright’s opinion was shared by former French international and Crystal Palace coach Patrick Vieira who called for the tournament to be shown more respect.
“I respect and understand the passion and importance of players to represent their country, so I will never stop any player from playing in the Africa Cup of Nations,” said Viera.
“I believe that competition needs to be more respected – because this competition is as important as the European Championships,” Vieira continued, calling on European journalists to show greater interest in the competition.
Watford did not comment, but this is not their first attack with an African football federation.
The Premier League shop, which sits at the bottom of the table, has already refused to allow Nigerian striker Emmanuel Dennis to join his country, saying the Nigerian Football Federation did not call him in time and missed the deadline to join the club. inform. of his choice.
Nigeria did not dispute the claim and have since replaced Dennis in their squad.
Watford, who lost to Tottenham Hotspur at half-time on Sunday and slipped closer to the relegation zone, will lose three other players to the tournament – William Troost Ekong of Nigeria and Moroccan pair Imran Louza and Adam Masina.