CAF Strips Morocco Of 2015 African Cup of Nations After Ebola Stand-Off


Nov 11, 2014

African Cup of NationsMorocco was thrown out of the 2015 African Cup of Nations and dumped as the host Tuesday after refusing to commit to the scheduled dates early next year because of fears over Ebola.

The tournament in January and February now will have a new host country just two months before kickoff, the Confederation of African Football said after an emergency meeting at its Cairo headquarters.

CAF didn’t announce the replacement host but said it had received “some applications.”

“These applications are currently under review, and the executive committee will finalize the selection of the successful national association shortly,” the African soccer body said in a statement.

It didn’t name any of the candidates.

South Africa, Egypt, Sudan and Ghana have all already indicated they are unwilling to replace Morocco, partly because of Ebola. Nigeria, Angola and Gabon also have been mentioned as possible stand-in hosts.

The decisions by CAF were taken at a meeting that was forced by Morocco’s refusal to hold the tournament on the planned dates of Jan. 17-Feb. 8 because of the threat of the spread of Ebola. The disease has killed about 5,000 people in West Africa, and Morocco wanted the 16-team soccer event postponed until 2016 because of fears the deadly virus would arrive with supporters and other travelers.

CAF repeatedly refused Morocco’s request to postpone the African Cup and gave it until Saturday to commit to the planned dates. Morocco declined again.

CAF’s executive committee also decided “that the national team of Morocco is automatically disqualified” because of its “refusal” to host. CAF will decide on further punishments for Morocco for breaching its contract as host, it said.

Morocco said it wouldn’t stand down over its position because of advice from its health authorities, which took precedence over sports.

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Photo by Twitter/@AllSportsGh

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