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Monday, January 30, 2023

CHAN: FIFA Council Member Blasts Algeria, Calls for Preservation of World Soccer Values

FIFA Council member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, former president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has called for the preservation of the values of world soccer, while decrying Algeria’s maneuvering that led to Morocco being denied participation in the African Nations Championship (CHAN-2023).

In a statement to Nigerian media, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, said he was “saddened” by the events that led to Morocco, the two-time title holder, not being able to defend its crown.

“As a member of the world soccer family and a stakeholder in African soccer, I am concerned about the deprivation of Morocco, defending champion of the CHAN to participate in the 2023 edition of the tournament held in Algeria,” he regretted.

He recalled that the Moroccan team was “forced” not to take part in the CHAN as the Algerian authorities did not allow the Royal Air Maroc (RAM), the official airline of Morocco, to access the airport of Constantine 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 the Algerian supporters”.

“We must remember that soccer promotes unity and peace in the world and that all FIFA member countries, as well as nations bidding to host events, must be willing and ready to act in the same spirit,” insisted 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 soccer and not mix it with ideological or political differences,” he emphasized.

“I am therefore saddened by these events that occurred during the African Nations Championship, a very important tournament in the calendar of African soccer for the development of local players,” he lamented.

Amaju Melvin Pinnick expressed confidence that the leadership of CAF and FIFA will implement the necessary measures in accordance with the relevant articles of the statutes of world soccer’s governing body to prevent such events from happening again.

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