RABAT: Morocco has refused to be railroaded by the African Football Confederation and maintained its stance against hosting the Nations Cup in January and February because of concerns over the ebola virus.
The Moroccan government wanted the tournament postponed until June but CAF president Issa Hayatou and his executive committee decided last week that Morocco should either stage the tournament as scheduled or risk the financial and contractual consequences of cancellation.
A statement from Morocco’s Sports Ministry said: “The decision is dictated by health reasons because of the serious threat of Ebola and the risk of its spreading.”
CAF’s executive committee is meeting in Cairo to decide on the next step though a decision may not be reached until tomorrow/Wednesday.
The statement from the Moroccan Government also stated the decision was “also motivated by humanitarian reasons since it is our responsibility to welcome all our guests and supporters in the best conditions in accordance with the culture and hospitality Moroccan traditions”.
Morocco had feared s that supporters from West Africa, the most affected area for Ebola, would travel to the host nation and put their important tourist industry at risk.
CAF secretary general Hicham El Amrani said Morocco’s request to postpone the tournament was rejected after consultation with the World Health Organisation thought he said: “We will never take any risk if we are unsure about whether a competition poses a threat to the hosts.”