The Confederation of African Football has condemned Napoli President, Aurelio De Laurentiis, following his controversial comments that the Italian Serie A club would no longer sign African players unless they agree not to play in the African Cup of Nations.
Speaking on Wall Street Italia show. Laurentiis said he ‘loves’ Napoli’s African players, but he rues having to pay them so much for the amount of time they are away.
‘I told them lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!’ said De Laurentiis during a streamed event.
‘I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!
‘We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.’
Responding to the comment, Africa’s football-ruling body stated, “CAF is committed to the role that football plays in Africa, Europe, North and South America, Asia and globally of bringing together and uniting people of different cultures, language groups, races, ethnic groups and religious backgrounds.
“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.
“We do not 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 to 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?”