FIFA Council and CAF Executive Committee member Amaju Melvin Pinnick, former president of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), has called for the preservation of the values of world football, while decrying the manoeuvres. Algeria having resulted in the deprivation of Morocco to participate in the African Nations Championship (CHAN-2022).
In a statement to Nigerian media, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, a member of the FIFA Council and the CAF Executive Committee, said he was “saddened” by the events which led Morocco, two-time defending champions, not to to be able to defend his crown.
“As a member of the world football family and a stakeholder in African football, I am concerned about the deprivation of Morocco, defending champions of CHAN, from participating in the 2023 edition of the tournament which is being held in Algeria”, regrets- he.
He recalled, in this sense, that the Moroccan selection was “forced” not to take part in the CHAN, the Algerian authorities having not authorized Royal Air Maroc (RAM), the official airline of Morocco, to access Constantine airport in Algeria, 24 hours before the start of the Championship.
Even more disturbing, he said, were “the political remarks made during the opening ceremony and the xenophobic chants of Algerian supporters”.
“We must remember that football promotes unity and peace in the world and that all member countries of FIFA, as well as the nations that apply to host events, must be willing and ready to act in the same spirit”, insists, in this regard, Amaju Melvin Pinnick.
Recalling the recommendations of FIFA and more recently those of President Gianni Infantino during the World Cup (Qatar-2022), “we must focus on football and not mix it up with ideological or political differences”, he puts in evidence.
“I am therefore saddened by these events that occurred during the African Nations Championship, a very important tournament in the African football calendar for the development of local players,” he insists.
Amaju Melvin Pinnick expressed his confidence that the leaders of CAF and FIFA will apply the necessary measures, in accordance with the relevant articles of the Statutes of the world governing body of football, in order to prevent such events from happening again and to preserve the beautiful game.