Columbus Crew have refused to release defender Harrison Afful for Ghana's back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sudan this month (November), GHANASoccernet.com can exclusively report.
In a letter signed by Club President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchchenko, the Major League Club cites two reasons-lateness of call-up and Covid-19 pandemic- for their decision to decline Afful's call-up.
Columbus Crew claim they received the invitation letter for the experienced right back within the 15 days before the first day of the upcoming international window which starts on Monday, 9 November 2020.
According to FIFA rules: ''Associations wishing to call up a player must notify the player in writing at least 15 days before the first day of the international window..The player's club shall also be informed in writing at the same time.''
On Covid-19, the club wrote: '' Due to the current pandemic , Harrison will have to go through a lengthy mandatory quarantine upon his return and will miss multiple matches after the international window ends.''
MLS currently requires players arriving from abroad to quarantine for minimum of 10 days.
Some months back, FIFA stated that if there was a quarantine period of at least five days upon arrival in the country where a club is located, the players from that club did not have to be released.
Afful, who has been in top shape this season for the Black and Gold, was itching to play his first matches for new Black Stars coach CK Akonnor after a long absence.
"For me, I am looking for immediate solutions and if you want to do that you don’t want to play around, you want to go straight to the point and therefore the immediate solutions are those guys,'' Akonnor explained why he named Afful in his 23-man squad.
On Wednesday, he scored his first goal of the season for Columbus Crew in their 2-1 defeat to ten-man Orlando City.
Ghana will host the Falcons of Jediane on Thursday, 12 November 2020 at Cape Coast stadium before travelling to Khartoum for the return clash five days later.