Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lost for words

It takes an organisation of quite incredible incompetence to make one thankful for the expertise and tact of the SFA.

So take a bow the Confederation of African Football.

On the eve of their showpiece final, at the start of the biggest year in the history of African football, CAF have announced that Togo will be fined $50,000 and banned from the next two tournaments.

Their crime? Withdrawing after the team buses were ambushed by terrorists. An ambush that saw two of their party die.

CAF have offered government interference as the rationale for their decision:
The players publicly expressed their willingness to return to the Nations Cup to compete. But the Togo government decided to call back their national team. The decision by political authorities contravenes Caf and African Nations Cup regulations.
These regulations are actually appended by a clause suggesting that they can be relaxed in the event of extreme circumstances. Clearly terrorist attacks ending in murder are not extreme enough.

There is also a suggestion in some quarters that when Togo's players requested to play in the tournament their request was blocked not by their government but by the organisers. Something about this stinks.

Togo have responded with a threat of legal action:
This is a surprise decision and it means that people (Caf) have no consideration for the lives of other human beings. This is insulting to the family of those who lost their lives and those traumatised because of the attack.

We had two people dead and others suffered so if those people at Caf had any consideration for others I don't think at this time this is a reasonable decision. We are awaiting the official notification and we are going to take legal action to resolve the matter.
We can only hope that Togo get the result they hope for in court.

And what of FIFA? So far they've declined to comment. The world game perhaps, but rotten to the core the world over.


  1. Hate to say this but i suspect FIFA probably back the CAF's stance as the footballing authorities tend to take a hard line on govenment intervention, as opposed to corruption. Countries have been threatened with being banned from world cups because of govenmnmental interfearance, England had the treatment when New Labour set up the football task force. Wembley also lost out on hosting this years European Cup Final because of "tax regulations" (?)

  2. Yes there is a massive fear of government interference, although how Fifa will square this when, for example, they take the World Cup to China I'm not so sure. Seems it's another rule that can be interpreted as suits.

    The fact remains that Caf, the Togo FA and the Togo government were faced with an unprecedented situation.

    Caf now seem to be using it to try and punish Togo.