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African All Stars

Napoli’s De Laurentiis remarks on Afcon, Africa stars ‘irresponsible and unacceptable’ – Appalled Caf

2:32 am AEST 8/8/22
Aurelio De Laurentiis, Napoli, Juventus, Serie A, 11012015
The Italian football administrator said his club may not sign players from the continent unless they back out of the competition

The Caf has condemned Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis over his recent remarks regarding African players.

The Italian said that unless African players sign an agreement backing out of the Africa Cup of Nations, the Serie A club will not sign players from the continent. Consequently, Caf has asked Uefa to institute 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," the statement by the African body read.

"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 are likely to fall under Article 14 of the Uefa disciplinary regulations.  Caf, therefore, urges Uefa to initiate a disciplinary investigation against him."

While stating the unique unifying role football plays in the world, Caf wondered whether Napoli's president would restrict their transfer activities involving players from regions other than Africa.

"Caf is committed to the role that football plays in Africa, Europe, North and South America, Asia, and globally in bringing together and uniting people of different cultures, language groups, races, ethnic groups, and religious backgrounds," the statement added.

"We have no doubt that Napoli and Uefa are as committed as Caf is to these global humanitarian objectives.

"Are we to assume that the Chairman of Napoli is going to include similar restrictive conditions for 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."

Caf’s statement follows a comment made by Nigeria's assistant coach, Usman Abdallah, who said De Laurentiis’ remarks lacked respect.

"Even at that, his statement shows a lack of respect for Africa and it is stupid to say that. It is so disheartening that someone of his calibre can make such a statement," Abdalla said.

"Some will tag this as racism because he only mentioned Africans and not players from other continents."

Cameroon’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen are the current African players with the Serie A club.