CAF rejects Baba Yara Stadium for Nigeria play-off

The Confederation of African Football (CAF), has rejected the Ghana Football Association’s request to change venues for Ghana’s 2022 World Cup Play-off against Nigeria next month.

This followed a request by theFAto use the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi instead of the Cape Coast Stadium initially selected venue for the first leg game.

That request for change was precipitated by the National Sports Authority (NSA)’s announcement on the unavailability of the Cape Coast Sports Stadium to pave way for preparations ahead of Ghana’s Independence Day celebrations on March 6.

But, CAF has turned down the request to use the Baba Yara Sports Stadium for the game.

According to a CAF statement,“The FIFA World Cup 2022 preliminary competition regulations in its article 21 venues, kick-off times and training sessions stipulates that venues of matches shall be set by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, and the matches may only be played in stadiums that have been inspected and approved by the confederation concerned.

It said “The opponents and the FIFAGeneral Secretariat shall be notified by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, at least three months before the match in question is due to be played.”

The statement noted that “December 24, 2021 was the deadline set by CAF for the participating national associations to select and communicate their preferred venue for the playoff round of the game.

It, however, said the GFA informed CAF on December 23 that the Cape Coast Stadium was the venue selected for the playoff.

Based on the venue selection, it said CAF concluded the assessment of the selected venue and communicated to FIFA the venue decisions for the game.

“Considering that match day is in less than 30 days, CAF is not in a position to delay any further the confirmation of the match venue. As you are aware, the selection of the venue, respective date, and time of the match, has to be set well in advance having a direct impact on the preparation of match logistics and operations by all the concerned parties.

“Besides, please note that Kumasi Sports Stadium is currently non-homologated by CAF to host international matches, since it has been under renovations and no CAF inspection was conducted to the stadium to re-assess the level of stadium compliance.

“Considering the above, the request of change of venue is not accepted, hence the match Ghana vs. Nigeria for the playoff round of qualifier should be maintained at Cape Coast Stadium.

“In case your association reiterate the position to change the venue since there is no other approved venue in Ghana, your national team will be requested to play in an approved stadium outside its territory, and the venue must be selected from among the stadiums approved by CAF.”

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