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Morocco stripped of 2015 Nations Cup and disqualified - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Nigerian national soccer team celebrates  with the Africa Cup trophy after winning the final against Burkina Faso at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on February 10, 2013. (EPA/Nic Bothma)

The Nigerian national soccer team celebrates with the Africa Cup trophy after winning the final against Burkina Faso at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on February 10, 2013. (EPA/Nic Bothma)

Cairo, Reuters—Morocco has been stripped of the right to host next year’s African Nations Cup, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided on Tuesday as it examined prospective replacements. It has also disqualified Morocco from playing in the finals, which CAF said would go ahead as planned on the scheduled dates of January 17–February 8.

Morocco’s removal as hosts follows the north African country’s request for a postponement of the tournament over fears of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Morocco believes thousands of traveling supporters from West Africa pose a risk and wanted a postponement of at least six months while the fight against Ebola intensified.

But CAF rejected any change to the planned dates citing a packed calendar. They gave Morocco an ultimatum of Saturday to withdraw their request, which was rejected.

CAF said it had received “a few applications from national associations confirming their desire to host the 2015 finals on the dates agreed.”

But it did not name any of them. No country has made any public expression of interest.

CAF said it would now study the applications and finalize the selection of new hosts “shortly” but did not give a date.

It will also confirm a date and venue for the draw ceremony, which had been scheduled for Rabat in Morocco on November 26.

African soccer’s governing body said it would seek legal redress from Morocco based on its contractual agreement with the Royal Moroccan Football Federation which was signed in April.

Moroccan football is also likely to be heavily sanctioned.

CAF’s executive committee, meeting in Cairo, also confirmed the qualifying matches set for this weekend and next Wednesday, to determine the 2015 finalists, would go ahead as planned.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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