Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismissed reports by Al Jazeera that the country has barred Eritrean footballers from playing in the 2015 Council for East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA) tournament scheduled to be held in Ethiopia.
Spokesperson of the Ministry, Tewolde Mulugeta, said Thursday that the information dispatched by the media institution is “baseless”.
Head of the Ethiopian Football Federation Public Relations Department Wondimikun Alayu said Ethiopia did not bar the Eritrean team from the tournament, saying it has no legal ground to do so.
According to him, Eritrea is not among the countries that have confirmed participation in the competition.
“Since, Eritrea is not in the organizers’ (CECAFA) participant countries’ list given to the Ethiopian Football Federation, there is nothing Ethiopia can do,” he added.
Alayu said the list that CECAFA has transferred to the Ethiopian Football Federation does not include Eritrea because it has refused to participate in the competition.
Eritrea’s Information Minister said that no one has barred Eritrea except that it routinely boycotts any kinds of sports events that are taking place in Ethiopia due to the occupation. Otherwise, if that was taken as barring, then Ethiopia was barred when Eritrea hosted the same CECAFA games in 2010.
#Eritrea was not barred but routinely boycotts sports event in Ethiopia due to occupation;Ethiopia was barred when Eritrea hosted z games
— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) November 11, 2015