Soccer: Napoli Won't Sign Africans Committed to Nations Cup

Photo: SSC Napoli/Getty Images [via ESPN]

The Facts

  • On Tues., SSC Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis declared that the Italian soccer club won't sign African players who agree to play in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

  • He criticized the fact that the competition takes place in the middle of Europe's top leagues season, which means players are often unavailable despite the club paying their salaries.

The Spin

Narrative A

AFCON is constantly having to justify its existence, and this needs to change. It's often portrayed as an imposition on European club games, and African players are frequently questioned over their decisions to represent their countries. It's time to give AFCON and its players the respect they deserve.

Narrative B

While AFCON is undoubtedly an important competition, the conflicting schedules are troublesome as African players have become international stars, playing for big clubs in big leagues. It only makes sense to find common ground and appease leagues, owners, and the players by rescheduling the event.

Nerd narrative

There's a 1% chance that Senegal will win the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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