After almost a month of deliberations and consultations, Morocco have formally and finally announced that it will not be hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations citing fears over the possible spread of the Ebola Virus Disease which has raged in certain parts of Africa since the outbreak in March this year.
CAF in response has swiftly announced that it will go ahead with the tournament despite Morocco’s withdrawal and was quick to announce that Morocco will be penalized for withdrawing as hosts by being disqualified for the 2015 African Cup of Nations regardless of the new hosts.
A statement on the CAF website confirmed the disqualification of Morocco as it read: “Accordingly, and following the refusal of the Moroccan party, the Executive Committee has decided that the national team of Morocco is automatically disqualified and will not take part in the 30th edition of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations in 2015.”
However, and perhaps most critically, CAF also stated that it will announce further sanctions on Morocco for its withdrawal as hosts of the tournament. “The Organising Committee of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations will later apply the statutory provisions that are required due to a breach of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation regulatory and contractual provisions, including those set out in the Host Association Agreement signed between CAF and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation in April 2014.”
This part of CAF’s statement suggests that the body will seek to place more sanctions on Morocco in a grandstand attempt to ensure that a precedent is set for future possible hosts. The goal for CAF will be to establish that its premier show-piece event, the AFCON, is valuable and it will be doubly eager to ensure that any notions that host nations can withdraw at will from their pre-agreed obligations is firmly knocked back.
To this end, CAF, as it has announced, will roll out more sanctions on Moroccan football. The big question as it stands is what this sanctions could be.