Togo banned from next Nations Cups after ambush

Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:15pm GMT

By Julien Pretot and Mark Gleeson

LUANDA (Reuters) - Togo have been banned from the next two African Nations Cups following their withdrawal from this year's competition after two members of their delegation were killed in an ambush, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Saturday.

"The players publicly expressed their willingness to return to the Nations Cup to compete. But the Togo government decided to call back their national team," the CAF said in a statement.

"The decision by political authorities contravenes CAF and African Nations Cup regulations. The executive committee therefore has banned Togo from the next two African Nations Cups and fined the Togo FA 50,000 U.S. dollars."

A Togolese assistant coach and a press officer died following an ambush on their bus in the northern Angolan province of Cabinda on January 8, prompting the government to recall the team for three days of mourning.

CAF chief press officer Suleiman Habuba said the decision was based on article 78 of CAF regulations which say: "A forfeit notified less than 20 days before the start or during the final competition shall entail, in addition of the forfeit of the entry fee, a maximum fine stipulated by the regulations as well as the suspension of the concerned national association for the following two editions of the African Cup of Nations."

The CAF statement added: "The executive committee and CAF repeat their profound sympathy to the families of the victims of the tragic attack. CAF has condemned the attack and denounced the act of terrorism."

Angolan police in Cabinda have arrested two alleged members of the FLEC (Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda), a separatist movement that claimed responsibility for the attack.

LEGAL ACTION   Continued...

<p>Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor arrives at the airport in the capital Lome, January 10, 2010. REUTERS/Noel Kokou Tadegnon</p>
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