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The ban on African stadiums calls into question the World Cup qualifiers

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The ban on African stadiums calls into question the World Cup qualifiers

The African Football Confederation, led by new President Patrice Motsepe, has banned 20 of its 54 member states from using their stadiums to host international matches because they do not meet the “minimum requirements” in a move that potentially disrupts World Cup qualifiers. next month.

Eight of the countries whose accreditation for the stadium has been revoked by the Confederation of African Football are participating in these qualifiers, which are due to begin on June 5th. These include Senegal, the highest ranked team in Africa and Mali.

Leopold Sengor’s 60,000-seat stadium in Senegal, Dakar, is closed for renovations and is not an approved stadium in the city of Ties, which the national team has used for recent matches. Mali’s 50,000-seat Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako is also not accredited, leaving both countries without approved seats.

Countries without accredited stadiums received until Friday from the CAF to organize neutral venues for home matches. This would force teams and staff to make additional cross-border trips during the coronavirus pandemic.

Complications can force the CAF to delay qualifying. The other World Cup teams that qualify for a ban on their stadiums are Burkina Faso, Niger, the Central African Republic, Liberia, Malawi and Namibia.

Sierra Leone is also affected, although it no longer competes in the World Cup qualifiers. He had to host Benin in a fun African Cup of Nations qualifier next month to decide the final team for that tournament.

Their decisive qualifier in March was canceled due to a dispute over COVID-19 tests and reassigned to the international window in June. This game cannot happen in Sierra Leone now.

Some of the reasons given by the CAF for the revocation of stadium accreditations include non-standard fields, “bad and inadequate” land spaces for team employees and the lack of fixed seats for fans. The CAF informed the parties about the bans on the stadium on Sunday.

Motsepe, a South African mining billionaire who owns the Pretoria-based Mamelodi Sundowns club, was elected without a rival as the new head of African football in March with the support of FIFA President Gianni Infantino. One of his promises was to improve the continent’s football infrastructure.

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