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Morocco loses Africa Cup

November 11, 2014

Morocco has been stripped of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in January and February of next year. The country had wanted to postpone the event due to fears about it furthering the spread of Ebola.

CAF President Issa Hayatou in Morocco
Image: F. Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Morocco have been dropped as hosts of next year's Africa Cup of Nations and disqualified from the tournament. The decisions were communicated in a statement on the website of the African football federation CAF on Tuesday.

CAF president Issa Hayatou (pictured above) held talks with Moroccan officials early in November over whether the African Cup of Nations should be postponed due to the Ebola crisis in Africa. The Moroccan federation had been given until November 8 to make their decision. In the end, they said that hosting the tournament in January would be too great a risk.

Morocco had said its call for postponement was "dictated by health reasons of the most dangerous kind, linked to the serious risk of the spread of the deadly Ebola pandemic."

But the CAF website statement said that it would not be changing the date of the tournament and that other countries had since indicated a willingness to host at short notice.

Moustapha Abou Ebadalla, a sports journalist at "Le Matin" in Casablanca, Morocco said the CAF's decision was "an injustice for Morocco."

Ebadalla added: "It will be taken to an international court of arbitration for sport in Lausanne. If they can prove that the rescheduling was requested because of an act of nature beyond control, then they'll win the case."

The CAF said it will "finalize the selection of the successful National Association shortly and confirm the place and date of the draw of the final tournament at the same time."

The 16-team Africa Cup tournament is set to take place from January 17 to February 9 next year.

al/sm (AFP, Reuters)

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