Senegal’s football federation has called on its French-based players to be released for upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, calling the league’s ban on internationals travelling outside the European Union “discriminatory”.
In a letter sent Thursday to the French Football Federation (FFF), the Senegalese FA said the West African state’s national squad could be deprived of 12 players currently at French clubs.
Senegal are due to face the Republic of Congo in Brazzaville on March 26, and Eswatini in the Senegalese city of Thies on March 30.
“It seems appropriate to us to highlight the totally discriminatory nature of this measure,” the letter said, referring to the ban, highlighting FIFA rules as well as EU labour law.
FIFA loosened rules obliging clubs to release players for international matches after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under these relaxed rules, France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs banned players from leaving to play outside the European Union and European Economic Area (EAA), which also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
France’s trip to Kazakhstan for a World Cup qualifier is not affected by the decision.
However, the Senegalese federation said that it is “by no means established” that French clubs had tried to obtain exemptions that could have spared players from being forced to quarantine on their return from international duty.
It said that French federation should take “all appropriate measures” to release players needed for Senegal’s national team.
Among the players named in Aliou Cisse’s 26-man squad were Rennes goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, Monaco’s Fode Ballo-Toure and Paris Saint-Germain defender Abdou Diallo.