Earlier this month, Togo withdrew from the Africa Cup of Nations when Angolan separatists attacked its team bus with machine guns, killing two delegation members. You would think the African Football Confederation would have sympathy. You would be wrong.
How wrong? Really, really, egregiously, blindingly, stunningly, mind-blowingly, fury-inducingly wrong.
The CAF instead decided to ban Togo from the next two Africa Cups of Nations, slated for 2012 and 2014, because Togo's prime minster removed his country's squad from the tournament — against the players' wishes, it should be noted. This, apparently, constitutes something called "governmental interference." And that's illegal!
Via the official CAF statement, an extremely literal interpretation of rules:
"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," 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 Cup and fined the Togo FA 50,000 U.S. dollars.
"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."
Aww, look at that: they denounce acts of terrorism! Guess they're not cold-blooded bastards, after all.