Watford v Senegal! FSF blast Hornets’ disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behaviour

Watford have reaffirmed their winger Ismaila Sarr is injured after Senegal accused the club of refusing to release him for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 23-year-old has been out with knee ligament damage since November.

The tournament starts on 9 January and Senegal named Sarr in their squad.

In a statement, the Senegal Football Federation (FSF) claimed the Premier League club had “blocked” Sarr from joining the team after he had “expressed his desire” to feature.

The Federation said: “The FSF wishes to express its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behaviour of Watford who seek by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team.

“Africa, its football and its footballers deserve the same respect as that accorded to other continents, confederations and players.”

Watford responded: “In early December, the club wrote to the Senegal Football Federation outlining the clinical diagnosis of Ismaila’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 have also invited the Senegal Football Federation to instruct their own independent surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and rehabilitation period.”

The controversy comes after Nigeria suggested Watford were “baring fangs” after the club objected to their top scorer Emmanuel Dennis being named in their squad. It has since been confirmed that striker Dennis will not be taking part.

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