RABAT: Morocco’s apparent intransigence over the African Nations Cup may be about to weaken.
The government, on health ministry advice, told the African Football Confederation two weeks ago that its health check system could not cope with the influx of fans expected for the finals in January and February.
Thus, for fear of a spread of the ebola virus, it proposed either a postponement until June. CAF responded on Monday that if Morocco did not agree to host the tournament as contracted then it would be cancelled. That carried the implicit threat that CAF would expect Morocco to meet all financial claims for broken commercial and broadcasting contracts.
One particular reason CAF is resisting a postponement is a fear that European clubs will then refuse to countenance a return to the January/February schedule which so irritates them because of the loss of major African players for two months every two years.
Hayatou handed Morocco a take-it-or-leave-it deadline of Saturday to consider its position. Now Youth and Sports Minister Mohammed Ouzzine has indicated he is ready to consider some sort of compromise.
This, presumably, might involve a one or two-week postponement on the grounds of extra entry-point health support provision.
Ouzzine said the original Morocccan postponement proposal had been taken “after a long period of analysis” in response to national and international concerns about possible contagion through events involving the movement of large number of people.
“Now we are hoping to find an agreed solution for an issue on which, up to this point, there has been no agreement.”
Whatever the response CAF has said it will take a definitive decision at an emergency exectuive committee meeting next Monday. The priority is a compromise which offers face-saving options on both sides.
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