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'The Coverage Is Completely Tinged With Racism' - Ian Wright Slams The 'Disrespect' Shown To The Africa Cup Of Nations

Rory O'Callaghan

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'The Coverage Is Completely Tinged With Racism' - Ian Wright Slams The 'Disrespect' Shown To The Africa Cup Of Nations

Ian Wright has slammed the “disrespect” shown towards the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and says coverage of the tournament is “tinged with racism”.

Cameroon is scheduled to host AFCON from January 9 to February 6 but the decision to stage the tournament during the domestic European season, and amid rising cases of Omicron Covid‑19 variant, has attracted some criticism.

Earlier this month, the European Clubs Association (ECA) raised its concerns in a letter to FIFA and expressed its reluctance to release players for the tournament.

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Former Arsenal striker Wright has hit back at those concerns and has questioned why they were not applied to the delayed Euro 2020, which was staged across Europe earlier this year.

The former England striker said on his TikTok channel: “Is there ever a tournament more disrespected than the Africa Cup of Nations?

“There is no great honour, none other than representing your country. The coverage is completely tinged with racism.

Wright has hit back at those criticising the staging of the tournament (Image: Alamy)
Wright has hit back at those criticising the staging of the tournament (Image: Alamy)

“We played our Euros across 10 countries in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and no issues.

“But Cameroon, a single country hosting the tournament is a problem?

"You're getting players who are getting asked if they will be honouring their call-ups to their national teams. Image if that was an English player representing the Three Lions."

Wright’s comments echo those of Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira, who recently called for AFCON to receive the level of respect it deserves.

“I believe that that competition needs to be more respected - because this competition is as important as the European Championships,” said Vieira.

Algeria are the defending champions having won the 2019 tournament (Image: Alamy)
Algeria are the defending champions having won the 2019 tournament (Image: Alamy)

Wright thanked Vieira for his support and has called on fans of English clubs to get behind their African players when the tournament begins next month.

“Some of the best players in Europe right now are Africans. If we love them at our clubs, why not love them at their national teams across the globe,” added Wright.

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has also called for AFCON to receive more respect (Image: Alamy)
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has also called for AFCON to receive more respect (Image: Alamy)

“Why is this tournament constantly getting so much flak?

“Shout outs to countries that have qualified and players like Sebastien Haller who has taken a stand against the media backlash plus Patrick Vieira.”

Up to 40 Premier League players are set to compete at AFCON, including the likes of Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Algeria are the defending champions, having beaten Senegal in the final of the 2019 tournament.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Twitter: CAF_Online

Topics: Africa Cup Of Nations, Ian Wright, Football, Racism

Rory O'Callaghan
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