Senegal accuse Watford of refusing to release Ismaila Sarr
Sarr is currently out injured with a knee problem
Senegal have accused Watford of refusing to release Ismaila Sarr for the Africa Cup of Nations, despite the forward being named in the squad.
The 23-year-old was included in Senegal's squad last month, even though he is currently out injured with a knee problem that he sustained in November.
The AFCON is being held in Cameroon and begins on January 9, with a host of Premier League and European stars participating in the prestigious tournament.
However, the Senegal Football Federation (FSF) have claimed that the Hornets have blocked Sarr from joining up with the national side.
"By mail on Friday, December 31, the English club Watford notified on the basis of arguments equally specious as fallacious its decision to block the player Ismaila Sarr, who has expressed his desire to join the Senegalese selection for the next Cup of Nations in Cameroon," said a FSF statement.
The FSF also stated that it had responded to Watford immediately to confirm that the player had been included in the squad, as well as informing the Premier League club that they had an obligation to release the player by no later than January 3.
The 2019 AFCON runners-up have said that they will take the matter up with FIFA if needed.
"The Senegal Football Federation wishes to express with this communication its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behaviour of Watford's hierarchy who look by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team," the statement concluded.
Senegal are set to report Watford to FIFA after the latter declined to release Ismail Sarr for #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021.
Watford insist Sarr has a Knee Ligament suffered against Man United and is not for for AFCON. pic.twitter.com/6q15fmTARw
— Eric Njiru (@EricNjiiru) January 3, 2022
While Senegal are adamant that Sarr should be released for the Africa Cup of Nations, Watford have stated that the player is not currently fit to play and that they have been in direct contact with the Senegalese FA about his condition.
A club statement read: "Ismaila Sarr suffered a knee ligament injury on November 20 in the match against Manchester United and has not been fit to play for Watford FC since that date.
"In early December, the Club wrote to the Senegal Football Federation outlining the clinical diagnosis of Ismaïla's injury and immediately followed that up by supplying the MRI scans detailing the extent of the injury. After further consultation with medical experts, we informed the Federation of Ismaila's rehabilitation process and likely timeframe of recovery.
"Within the past 10 days, the Club has reiterated to the Senegal Football Federation the player's current medical status and recovery schedule.
"The Hornets have also invited the Senegal Football Federation to instruct their own independent surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and rehabilitation period."
Sarr's teammate Emmanuel Dennis - who has scored eight Premier League goals for the Hornets this season - will not represent Nigeria at the tournament after Watford said the Nigeria Football Federation did not request his inclusion in time.
Manager Claudio Ranieri insisted that Watford have not shown disrespect to the AFCON after Nigeria accused them of "baring fangs".
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