Morocco have been banned from the next two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) as punishment for failing to host this year’s tournament.
Following the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting in Malabo on Friday, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has, in line with the competition rules, been fined the sum of £650,000 ($US1m) and ordered to pay for damages to the tune of about £6m (€8.05m) for exercising a “Force majeure” in football matter.
Morocco disclosed their unpreparedness to host Afcon 2015 as originally scheduled towards the end of last year, maintaining her request for postponement to 2016 because of concerns over the spread of the Ebola virus.
Equatorial Guinea eventually stepped in as host nation and the Atlas Lions were expelled from the tournament.
Caf had rejected their request with President Issa Hayatou saying “we cannot sign our death warrant.”
An edition of the Afcon has never been postponed or canceled since its inception in 1957, despite the geopolitical challenges facing the continent.
A Caf statement read: “The CAF Executive Committee decided to suspend the national team of Morocco from the next two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, 2017 and 2019, and to impose on the federation the regulatory fine of US$ 1 million (One million United States Dollars).
“By a separate measure to be borne by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation the sum of eight million and fifty thousand euros (€8.05m million euros) in compensation for all material damage sustained by CAF, stakeholders and partners as a result of the decision not to host AFCON 2015.”
Despite calling for postponement of Africa’s showpiece event, Morocco retained her hosting right for the 2014 Fifa Club World Cup in December.
The 1988 Afcon hosts argued that the Club World Cup, unlike the Afcon, attracts a relatively moderate influx of international supporters.
Meanwhile, World Health Oraganisation (WHO) health workers have been conducting Ebola screening at entries into stadium venues in Equatorial Guinea. There has been sponsored sensitisation campaigns against the spread of the disease throughout host cities and at match stadia.
Screening exercise involves taking fans’ temperatures and giving supporters sanitising gel as they make their ways into the stadium.