The Confederation of African Football reacted to the remarks made by Aurelio de Laurentiis, the president of SSC Napoli, saying he no longer wanted to recruit African footballers because of their participation in the African Cup of Nations (CAN). The Confederation of African Football (CAF) denounced the comments as “irresponsible and unacceptable” and called on UEFA to crack down.
Aurelio de Laurentiis’ blunt statement, made on 2 August in an interview with Wall Street Italia, continues to shock the football world, particularly in Africa. The sulphureous president of the Italian club had declared that they no longer wanted to recruit African players, unless “they sign a waiver to participate in the African Cup”. “We are the idiots who pay salaries to send them to play for others,” he added.
In a statement issued on Sunday 7 August, the association in charge of football in Africa said it was “dismayed by the irresponsible and unacceptable comments made by the president of Napoli FC”. The latter’s comments, concerning a clause waiving the CAN as a condition of employment, “are likely to fall under Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations”.
The subject of this article is ‘Racism and other discriminatory behavior’. Paragraph 1 states that “any person (…) who violates the dignity of a person or a group of persons for any reason, in particular for reasons of skin color, race, religion, ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation shall be liable to a suspension of at least ten matches or for a specified period of time, or any other appropriate sanction”. Under this article, “CAF therefore urges UEFA to open a disciplinary investigation” against Aurelio de Laurentiis.
“Are we to assume that the Napoli president will include similar restrictive conditions for players from South America, Asia and other confederations, banning them from participating in their continental competitions which are important for the development and growth of football in the world?”
Last January-February, during the CAN held in Cameroon, Napoli was deprived of Adam Ounas (eliminated in the first round with Algeria), André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (third with Cameroon) and Kalidou Koulibaly (winner with Senegal).