Sport and Society’s Updates

Africa Cup Disrupted by Ebola Concerns

Image Courtesey of Wikimedia Commons/ Nick Wiebe | Article Link | by Jere Longman

Fear of the spread of Ebola has now thrown Africa’s most important soccer tournament into disarray.

Morocco was removed Tuesday as host of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and expelled from participating in the biennial championship after it sought to delay the 16-team event, concerned about a spread of the virus.

No replacement host has yet been named for the tournament, which is scheduled from Jan. 17 to Feb. 8.

The expulsion of Morocco was announced by the Confederation of African Football, or C.A.F., the regional soccer governing body, which accused Moroccan officials of being alarmist in wanting to delay the Cup of Nations by six months or a year.

Ebola has not been detected in Morocco, the organization noted recently. Relatively few visiting fans were expected for the Cup of Nations; the scheduled dates fit within a window on the world soccer calendar; and a postponement could be financially crippling to the regional governing body, the confederation has said.

Also, none of the three West African nations hit hardest by the epidemic — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — have so far qualified for the 2015 Cup of Nations. Liberia exited in the preliminary qualifying rounds. Sierra Leone is in last place in its group with two qualifying matches remaining this month.