The recent decision by the Organising Committee of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Angola, 2010 to ban
The Committee cited “Article 78 of Regulations of the Orange
The statement issued by CAF is an insult on injury. Hear them “The Executive Committee and its president renewed their sincere condolences to the families of victims involved in this tragic terrorist attack which happened January 8, 2010. The attack was condemned by CAF and also a total support was given to the Togolese team.” What support can they give to the dead? What “sincere” condolence can you give to a group you are punishing for an unfortunate event that they had no control over?
Let us go back and analyse the whole situation. The Angolan government and the Organising Committee claim they were not aware that the Togolese team was travelling by road from Point Noire to
Immediately after the attack Rodrigues Mingas, Secretary General of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), said his fighters had meant to attack security guards as the convoy passed through the Angolan
The whole world saw video footage of a traumatized team. We heard what the team members said in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
According to a BBC report on that day, Togolese midfielder Alaixys Romao said the team was likely to pull out of the 16-nation cup.
"No-one wants to play," he said. "We're not capable of it. We're thinking first of all about the health of our injured because there was a lot of blood on the ground."
Despite their unfit psychological state, they were put under great pressure by the Angolan government and the Organising Committee to change their mind and play. So, who was interfering with the team’s decision, the Togolese government or the partnership of CAF and the Angolan government? Who knows what threats CAF made to the Togolese team to make them “change” their mind to stay on and play when they had explicitly told the whole world that they were too traumatized to play. Simply put, they were not in a proper psychological state to go into the tournament. The Togolese government did what any responsible government would have done in the circumstances. With relatives of team members bombarding them with questions and requests to bring the boys back home in accordance with the strong desire of the team members just after the attack, what should they have done? The Togolese nation went into mourning and they were fearful for the lives of the survivors.
Interestingly, the statement from CAF posted on their website does not mention the aspect of interference of the government of
Moreover, the withdrawal shall entail the forfeit of its share in the profits realised from the receipts. In addition, the Organising Committee may order the concerned national association to make compensation for any eventual damages.” Despite all the mitigating circumstances of the breach of the rules, the Committee applied the full weight of the prescribed sanctions. It will be observed that the Organising Committee ignored the provisions of their own Article 89 which says “Reserves are made as to cases of force majeure and shall be decided by the Organising Committee.”
Notice that there is no specific amount prescribed as the punitive fee in Article 78 – only “the forfeit of its share in the profits realised from the receipts.” What if there was no profit in this case, the Togolese FA still has to pay $50,000. This is an interpretation and application of law with a petty and rigid mind. They forgot to mention Article 90 which stipulates specific amounts. This was a very shoddy job of the Committee.
From the preliminary reaction of the Togolese government to the CAF statement, there is a clear indication that we have not heard the last of this matter. FIFA has a duty to intervene and correct this mindless, vindictive decision. Let common sense prevail in the interest of African football.