The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) sharply criticized the “very unfortunate words” of Arsene Wenger, director of development of FIFA, who made the distinction at the end of May between “Europe” and ” the rest of the world “. “CONMEBOL rejects and condemns the very unfortunate words of the senior official of Fifa, very close to the presidency of the institution” occupied by Swiss Gianni Infantino, the confederation said in a statement.
Wenger had said, during a congress of German coaches on May 24 in Freiburg: the French striker “Kylian Mbappé has African origins, but he was trained in Europe. If he had been born in Cameroon, he would not have become this player”. “There is Europe and the rest of the world, and the rest of the world needs help, otherwise we will lose too much talent”added the 72-year-old former French coach of Arsenal.
CONMEBOL, chaired by Paraguayan Alejandro Dominguez, believes that Wenger, “apart from revealing an unusual ignorance of the valuable contribution of African players to world football, particularly European football, exhibits a disparaging bias that renders invisible the efforts of footballers and sporting institutions that are not in Europe . The most reprehensible prejudices are disguised as well-founded and informed reflections”.
“We South Americans know very well and on the front line this type of attitude that stems from the belief that the world begins and ends in Europe”adds CONMEBOL. “The talent, the spirit of sacrifice and the desire to excel of African and South American players must be valued and respected”she continues.