Published on :
While rumors of cancellation of the competition due to the Covid-19 epidemic have caused trouble in recent days, Cameroon and the African Football Confederation announced on Thursday that CAN spectators will have to be at both vaccinated and tested to attend matches.
Under pressure, the government and the African Football Confederation (CAF) unveiled, Thursday, December 16, a strict health protocol for supporters who will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and present a negative test to attend Cup matches of African Nations Football in Cameroon (January 9 – February 6).
The announcement comes amid persistent rumors of a cancellation or further postponement of football’s flagship competition on the continent.
“Supporters will only be able to access the stadiums (…) if they are fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours or a negative antigenic RDT of less than 24 hours”, explain Cameroon and CAF in a statement.
>> Postponement or cancellation of the CAN: what we know
The press release was released after a meeting between Cameroonian ministers of health, Manaouda Malachie, sports, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, CAF secretary general Véron Mosengo-Omba, and the first vice-president of the Cameroonian football federation, Fécafoot, Céline Eko Mendomo, who all four signed the document.
“Despite this additional challenge that this pandemic constitutes, our CAN must now be played out. Its solemn opening ceremony is scheduled for January 9, 2022 at the Olembe Sports Complex” in Yaoundé, they specify in the press release.
On Monday, the European Association of Clubs (ECA) threatened not to release international players for CAN, worrying about the health protocol of the event against the backdrop of a pandemic. She had notably invoked the absence, at this stage, of “medical and operational protocol adapted for the tournament”.
The ECA especially pointed out the risk of an absence of internationals longer than the planned period of availability, because of “quarantines and travel restrictions” linked in particular to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The sending of this letter from the ECA to Fifa comes as rumors accumulate around a possible cancellation of the CAN, or a new postponement of the tournament, initially scheduled for 2021 but postponed by a year due to the pandemic.
Asked by AFP, a senior leader of the Cameroonian Football Federation described these speculations on Monday as “fake news”.