2022 CAF WCQ: CAF rejects Ghana’s request to use Baba Yara Stadium as home ground for Nigeria game

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The Ghana Football Association’s (GFA) request to use the Baba Yara Sports Stadium as venue for the first leg of the playoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers has been rejected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The request to use the Baba Yara Sports Stadium came in after the National Sports Authority (NSA) wrote to GFA informing them that the Cape Coast Stadium which has been the Black Star’s home venue in the last 4 games will be unavailable for the crucial game scheduled for March because the ground will be used for Ghana’s 65th Independence celebrations.

NSA advised the FA to resort to either the Baba Yara Sports Stadium or Accra Sports Stadium. The Ghana FA then wrote to CAF requesting to use the Baba Yara Sports Stadium. However, the request was declined.

CAF informed the FA that the request contravenes their regulations which stipulates that the preferred venue for the playoff round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers must be communicated to them 90 days before the game.

The crucial game will be played between Wednesday, March 23 to Tuesday, March 29. The first leg will be played in Ghana and the return leg in Nigeria days later.

The winner of the tie will earn a place at the
2022 World Cup to be played in Qatar between
21 November to 18 December.

Below is a full statement from CAF:

“The Fifa World Cup 2022 preliminary competition regulations in its article 21 venues, kick-off times and training sessions stipulates that “The venues of matches shall be set by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, and the matches may only be played in stadiums that have been inspected and approved by the confederation concerned. The opponents and the Fifa general secretariat shall be notified by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, at least three months before the match in question is due to be played.”

“24th of December 2021 was the deadline set by Caf for the participating national associations to select and communicate to Caf their preferred venue for the playoff round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers.

“On the 23rd of December 2021, GFA informed Caf that Cape Coast Stadium was the venue selected for the playoff round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers.

“Based on the venue selection received from each of the participating national association, Caf has timely concluded the assessment of the selected stadium(s) and communicated to Fifa the venue decisions for the upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoff round.

“Considering that matchday is in less than 30 days, Caf is not in a position to delay any further the confirmation of the match venue. As you are aware, the selection of the venue, respective date, and time of the match, has to be set well in advance having a direct impact on the preparation of match logistics and operations by all the concerned parties.

“Besides, please note that Kumasi Sports Stadium is currently non-homologated by Caf to host international matches, since it has been under renovations and no Caf inspection was conducted to the stadium to re-assess the level of stadium compliance.

“Considering the above, the request of change of venue is not accepted, hence the match Ghana Vs. Nigeria for the playoff round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers should be maintained at Cape Coast Stadium.

“In case your association reiterate the position to change the venue since there is no other approved venue in Ghana, your national team will be requested to play its upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoff round match in an approved stadium outside its territory, and the venue must be selected from among the stadiums approved by CAF.”

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