AFCON: Senegal says “disrespectful” Watford refused to release Ismail Sarr

Officials of the Senegalese Football Federation says English Premier League side, Watford has refused to release Ismail Sarr to play for the country in the African Cup of Nations which starts on the 9th of January, 2022. The authorities said the midfielder expressed willingness to represent the country but is being frustrated.

In a statement signed by the General Secretary, Victor Seh Cisse, the federation says “the English club Watford notified on the basis of spurious arguments its decision to block the player Ismail Sarr, who has expressed his desire to join the Senegalese selection for the Cup of Nations.”

The statement added that, “the FSF [Senegal football governing body] responded immediately to confirm the player’s call-up and the club’s obligation to release the player by no later than January 3” but “Watford persists in its deliberate refusal to release the player.”

The authorities hinted of a possible call on FIFA to resolve the issue. “The FSF wishes to express its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behaviour of Watford who seek by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team,” the authorities said whilst adding that, they will consult Football’s governing body, FIFA to get the issue resolved.

They also said that, “Africa, its football and its footballers deserve the same respect as that accorded to other continents, confederations and players. The FSF will take all the necessary action to ensure that the basic right of its footballers to play for their country is respected.”

Meanwhile, Watford club officials have refuted the claim, stating that, the said player is currently on a knee injury hence the decision not to release him.

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