AFCON Qualifiers: CAF Orders Third-, Fourth-Round Matches To Be Played Without Fans

Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad delivers a speech during the 40th CAF ordinary general assembly on February 2, 2018 in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that all matches of Days 3 and 4 of the AFCON qualifiers ‘Cameroon 2021′, scheduled from 11 to 17 November, will be played behind closed doors, despite an overall downward trend in the spread of the coronavirus in Africa.

CAF took this decision at the end of a video conference with National Security and Safety Officers (NSSOs) of its member federations on Thursday.

The NSSOs were trained and informed on “the new safety and security protocol imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic”, towards the resumption of the AFCON 2021 playoffs, suspended since November 2019 because of the coronavirus.

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According to Dr Christian Emeruwa, head of the Department of Safety and Security at CAF, the objective of this measure “is to ensure uniformity of safety and security operations throughout Africa”.

Faced with the enormous task of keeping spectators and fans away from stadiums, a CAF press release said that the need was felt to “guide all national security and safety officers”, as well as those of CAF, “on best practices”.

For the African football governing body, “the protection of players and officials before, during and after matches is of great importance.’

Hence the need to ensure “effective coordination between safety and security officers and all other health workers who will be involved in the organisation of each match,” said the statement issued Thursday.

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