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Ebola won't delay AFCON

13 October 2014, 06:53

Johannesburg - Organisers have no intention of changing the dates of next year's African Nations Cup even though hosts Morocco called for a postponement of the finals because of fears over the Ebola virus.

But the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement on Saturday it would meet the Moroccan government next month, sending a high-powered delegation to discuss the issue in Rabat led by its president Issa Hayatou.

The host nation's government made a shock announcement on Friday, saying it wanted the 16-team tournament from January 17 to February 8 postponed following a report by its health ministry into the possible spread of the virus.

"CAF acknowledges this request and confirms it will make no changes to its calendar of scheduled competitions," the organisers said.

"We have taken into account the recommendations of the World Health Organization and various medical experts. It should be noted that since the first edition in 1957 no African Cup of Nations has ever been postponed or deferred."

Last month the Moroccan government ordered a detailed report into the possibility that the tournament might spread the disease although no cases have yet been reported in the north African country.

CAF had already banned international matches in Liberia, Guinea and Ebola-affected Sierra Leone. The latter two are still involved in Nations Cup qualifiers and will clash later on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Morocco are allowing Guinea to host their qualifier against Ghana in Casablanca.

"The request of the Moroccans will be discussed at the next meeting of the CAF executive committee scheduled for November 2 in Algiers," the organisers added.

"Subsequently a meeting will be organised between CAF and the Moroccans in Rabat on November 3. The delegation will be led by CAF president Issa Hayatou."

The world's worst Ebola epidemic since the disease was identified in 1976 has killed more than 4,000 people, mainly in West Africa.

The virus, spread by contact with bodily fluids, causes fevers and potentially fatal bleeding.

Several foreign health workers have been repatriated for treatment after contracting the disease in West Africa.

- Reuters


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