Italian side Napoli are preparing to take legal action against countries who hand call-ups to their players ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next year.
According to the club’s lawyer Mattia Grassani, Napoli will take legal action to protect their players, especially with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the world and in Cameroon, where only five per cent of the population has been vaccinated, will be used as one of the excuses.
CAF on Tuesday confirmed that the competition, billed for January 9 to February 6, 2022 in Cameroon, would hold as scheduled.
Napoli could lose at least five players — Adam Ounas, Kalidou Koulibaly, Faouzi Ghoulam, André Anguissa and Victor Osimhen, if the Nigerian is passed fit — to the competition, which could affect their title chances.
Osimhen on Tuesday declared himself fit for the competition, after resuming training following a cheekbone surgery in November.
Grassani says the club has invested a lot of money in the players and would not fold their hands and watch them being exposed to COVID-19 at the AFCON.
“Considering the epidemiological situation, there could be legal action, because this tournament (AFCON) takes away valuable resources from the clubs,” Napoli lawyer Grassani told CalcioNapoli24
“It is a particular historic moment, so it would be different if we felt 99 per cent confident of the situation. The clubs invested a lot of money for signing players like Victor Osimhen, so if he were to become infected, that’d be tough to deal with.
“The first step would be legal action to prevent the call-up, then if there were concrete elements to sue because the health standards are not the same as in European competitions, then there could be more appeals to gain an exemption for Europe-based players.”
Several European clubs have kicked against allowing their players attend the AFCON in January due to COVID-19 concerns.