Morocco has refused to host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals as it fears fans arriving from west Africa could introduce the Ebola virus to the country.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF), the continent’s footballing governing body, had set the Moroccan Football Federation (MFF) a deadline for Saturday 8 November to confirm it would be hosting the tournament.
MFF refused to acknowledge the deadline, making it increasingly likely that CAF will now need to find another host for the tournament.
The Africa Cup of Nations was due to take place in Morocco between 17 January and 8 February.
A decision on a new host is expected to be made later this week at an CAF executive committee meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
The Moroccan government has voiced its concerns that supporters entering the country from west Africa – where the outbreak of Ebola has claimed more than 5,000 lives – could introduce the deadly virus to Morocco and decimate the country’s tourism industry.
Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Moroccan economy – in 2013 the country received more than 10 million visitors.
In 2010 the government launched its Vision 2020, which plans to make Morocco one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world and to double the annual number of international arrivals to 20 million by 2020. – See more at: http://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=312474#sthash.5rO9nWDy.dpuf