HAVANA TIMES — FIFA president Joseph Blatter will personally request explanations from Cuban sports authorities over the defection of three to four players before the qualifying match against Canada in Toronto last week, reported DPA news.
“This is definitely not just a matter for the Department of Competitions ( of FIFA), but an issue that I will raise on the presidential level [of the Cuban federation] with sports authorities in Cuba to have moved it to its political authorities,” Blatter said in Geneva today to a group of journalists.
“It’s a serious matter we are aware,” he added.
Cuba lost to Canada 3-0 in its match Friday in the Cobcacaf qualifier for the Brazil World Cup 2014. The island’s team was already out of the running.
The four players who abandoned the Cuban squad are Reisandry Fernandez a midfielder, forwards Elier Cordovés and Maikel Chang and goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper, according to the Café Fuerte.com web site.
Team psychologist Ignacio Abreu also abandoned the delegation and along with the players crossed the Canadian border and requested political asylum in the United States.
The Cuba-Canada clash, played at BMO Field in Toronto, belonged to the fifth and next-to-last round of Group C of the CONCACAF qualifying (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football).
It is not new that Cuban athletes seize foreign travel as a possibility to start a new life outside the Communist Party led regime. In 2008, for example, seven players from the national football team stayed in the USA after an international match in Florida.
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