The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will begin discussions on Tuesday over whether to find new hosts for next year’s African Nations Cup finals or cancel the tournament.
CAF’s executive committee will meet in Cairo to decide what to do having rejected host Morocco’s request for a postponement.
It insists on going ahead with the planned January 17-February 8 dates even though the North African country wants a postponement over fears of a possible spread of the Ebola virus.
CAF is sure to strip Morocco of the hosting rights and might begin disciplinary proceedings which could severely affect their participation in future African competitions.
But CAF must also find a solution to the hosting of its showpiece event or face a heavy financial blow if the tournament has to be called off.
Effectively, by ruling out moving the 16-team finals from its scheduled dates, CAF would have to find a new host. On Monday, Ghana joined the list of countries turning down the opportunity to stage the event.
“The representation we have received from people in the health sector (means) it doesn’t look (like) Ghana is in a position to accepting hosting the tournament and we have conveyed this message to CAF,” said sports minister Mahama Ayariga. Egypt and South Africa have also issued a public ‘no’.
But CAF executive committee member Constant Omari suggested on Monday there was a plan to ensure the tournament would go ahead.
“The financial damage and the consequences for CAF and its marketing partners would be too severe to call it off,” he told French radio.
CAF media director Junior Binyam said a statement that CAF’s decision would be communicated only after the conclusion of the executive committee meeting, which could stretch into Wednesday.
Morocco’s sports minister Mohamed Ouzzine told Reuters on Monday they had not heard from CAF since sending the regional governing body a letter on Saturday repeating their request for a postponement and had no idea what CAF’s decision would be.