"All the protesters are taking Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
James Dorsey at www.mideastsoccer.blogspot.com alerts us to CAF and FIFA footdragging their heels on relocating Africa's U-20 football championship from Libya as that country descends into civil war and increasing bloodshed (estimated 2000 dead) as Muammar Gaddafi escalates his brutal crackdown.
The worsening situation which endangers the well being of Africa's promising youngsters has led to a number of countries like South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria offering to host next month's championship. However Issa Haytou, CAF's president has shown an alarming disregard for player safety in the past.
He was accused of shirking his responsibility when Angolan separatists opened fire on the Togo squad during the last Africa Cup of Nations. The attack left two officials dead and several wounded, including players.
The Togo government had no recourse but to pull out their traumatized team for an official mourning period, a step agreed to by Hayatou initially but cynically backtracked on by disqualifying them from further participation. Togo's football team also paid a harsh price for their government's supposed interference as Hayatou banned them from the next two Africa Cups and fining them $50,000.
In a press conference held yesterday Hayatou and Sepp Blatter were to announce an alternate host. Instead, they gave a statement saying they were still monitoring the situation in Libya. The soccer federation head is Muammar Gaddafi's eldest son, Muhammad who no doubt has sent out missives to the honchos that his father is very much in control and that peace will be restored soon. Meanwhile, he is
Which brings us to the second part. Given the brutal and violent crackdown of the Gaddafis on a defenseless civilian population, why would CAF and FIFA want Libya to continue to host the U20 championship even if peace is miraculously restored? South Africa was awarded the World Cup for their emergence from the shadows of apartheid. Surely, Libya is fairly and squarely in contravention of FIFA's goals.
There should be no doubts. Issa Hayatou and Sepp Blatter should take immediate action on an alternate host. This will go a long way in rehabilitating the CAF president's image.