UEFA president Michel Platini has fired back harshly after the African Federation claimed he made disparaging comments about Morocco’s ability to host the African Cup of Nations.
Morocco, situated in the northwest part of the continent, has requested to the AFC that the Cup of Nations be postponed amid the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. They are likely concerned with allowing vast numbers of players and fans from all over the continent across its borders without the ability to screen or control those entering its land.
However, the AFC has firmly stated that Morocco better get its act together, or they will find a new host.
During a television interview, the CAF claims Platini questioned the decisions that the organization has made in the run up to the tournament.
The CAF then released a statement condemning Platini’s words, saying he was meddling in affairs that were not his. The full statement, entitled “CAF against interference of UEFA President in its affairs,” read:
“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. 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. 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. 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.”
Well, this caught a nerve with Platini, who not only responded vehemently to the statement by issuing an open letter to CAF President Issa Hayatou, but also acted swiftly to provide them with a transcript from his interview to prove he did not make those statements.
Instead, Platini claims, he said that while Morocco has the right to be concerned about its country’s safety and those entering it, it is ultimately CAF’s decision to decide what to do with the tournament.
Platini fired back, saying:
“It was with great surprise, a deep sense of injustice and considerable disappointment that I learned of the official CAF statement entitled ‘CAF against interference of UEFA president in its affairs. You know my love of Africa, the African people and African football, and that is why this CAF statement has upset and hurt me so much.”
He also requested a formal apology, or else he will “act accordingly” whatever that means.
The tournament is scheduled to begin on January 17 of 2015 and is still as of now scheduled to be hosted by Morocco. Games will take place in four Moroccan cities: Rabat, Tangler, Marrakesh, and Agadir.