Football Football

Morocco axed as CAN hosts over Ebola


MOROCCO-STARSCAIRO, November 11- Morocco on Tuesday was dropped as hosts of next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) and the national side was flung out of the competition after the country said it wanted to postpone the tournament due to fears over the Ebola epidemic, the African Football Confederation (CAF) announced.

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

A CAF statment issed at its Cairo headquarters said that other countries had indicated a willingness to host the tournament and that 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 dates set for the 2015 CAN, the African continent’s most prestigious football tournament, are from January 17-February 9.

The CAF executive committee confirmed that qualification matches for the tournament will continue as planned on November 14-15 to decide which 15 teams will join that of the new host country for the finals.

The deadly ebola virus has killed at least 4,960 people, mainly in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Morocco fears that an influx of foreign fans could help spread the epidemic.

CAF has said the fears are exaggerated and that only a limited number of foreign fans will go there.

The Ebola epidemic first hit the Cup of Nations in August when Seychelles forfeited a qualifying tie rather than host a return match against Sierra Leone.

As the death toll mounted, CAF barred Sierra Leone and Guinea from hosting their qualifying group games.