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Jan 31, 2010

Adebayor slams "outrageous" Togo ban

Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor has labelled the decision to ban his national team from the next two editions of the African Nations Cup as "outrageous''.

• Togo handed two-game Nations Cup ban

The west African side were yesterday banned from the next two tournaments and hit with a fine following their withdrawal from this year's competition in the wake of a terrorist attack on their team bus.

The decision was made by the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and was greeted with disgust by Adebayor.

The Manchester City striker claimed the CAF's Cameroonian president Issa Hayatou had "completely betrayed'' the Togo squad and called for him to leave his post.

"Mr Hayatou has served Africa extensively, but now he must escape," Adebayor told L'Equipe: This decision is outrageous.''

Three people were killed in the January 8 attack, which occurred while Togo were en route to the team hotel two days before their opening match.

There followed a period of confusion as to whether the players wanted to play on, but they were ultimately called home by their government having decided themselves they wished to stay. The CAF deemed that move amounted to political interference, leading to yesterday's sanction.

Adebayor continued: "They do not care about the voice of the world. It was our head of state (Faure Gnassingbe) who sent us to the African Nations Cup to defend the colours of our country.

"He said the threat surrounding our squad had not gone and told us to return to our country. We are only ambassadors. We were obliged to return, and there was nothing we could do.''

Togo's French coach, Hubert Velud, was also astonished by the decision and wants to know whether it is one supported by FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini.

"I am curious to know if Blatter and Platini will endorse this decision,'' he said. "If they let this go, it is the gateway to completely dysfunctional football. I officially launched an appeal to international bodies to see their reaction.''

Striker Jonathan Ayite has also blasted CAF for the decision. Ayite, who plays for Nimes in France, was on the bus at the time and has described the decision as a scam.

"It's a big disappointment,'' he told French Radio RMC. "It is unacceptable to do that. I will not use the words you need. But to be scammed like this by CAF.

"Frankly, there is no compassion on their part. I can not find the words. I do not understand.'' "Before leaving, the officers told us they would not apply the rules to the letter, they would be lenient.

"And now, once everyone returned to his club, they'll leave it. This is unheard of. I do not know what went into their heads. There are some shenanigans in the air.''

The Togo government has already threatened legal action, while an appeal from the Togolese Football Federation is reportedly set to follow.

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