The Confederation of African Football has had enough of Morocco’s crap. After today’s ruling from the continent’s soccer governing body, the country originally scheduled to host January’s Cup of Nations will no longer stage the event. In fact, the nation’s team is no longer invited, either. Though CAF is still deciding where the relocated confederation championship will be held, Morocco’s Atlas Lions will stay home, the victim of its country breaking its contractual obligation to host the upcoming competition.
The Moroccan sports ministry had requested the tournament be postponed in the face of West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, even though the Northern African nation has no reported cases of the virus. Fears that the illness would be brought into the country by those arriving for the tournament prompted the country’s request, even though the nature of the FIFA calendar precluded moving the competition on short notice.
After CAF’s leadership met today in Cairo, the organization announced its decision. Paranoid about Ebola, Morocco? Don’t want to meet your contractual obligations? That’s fine, but if you’re that scared of Ebola, best keep your own players at home come January.
“Therefore, having firmly and unanimously notified on 3 November its decision to keep the competition on the dates indicated, the Executive Committee confirmed that the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015 will not take place in Morocco …
“Accordingly, and following the refusal of the Moroccan party, the Executive Committee has decided that the national team of Morocco is automatically disqualified and will not take part in the 30th edition of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations in 2015.”
I don’t want to trivialize the threat of Ebola, particularly when the CDC’s reporting 4,950 deaths between Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, but the distance between Conakry (the capital of Guinea, the northern-most of the those three nations’ capitals) and Rabat is 1762 miles — or, slightly farther than the distance from Los Angeles to Chicago.
Of course, the United States isn’t immune to its own irrational Ebola paranoia, though in fairness, we have had actual cases of the virus within our borders (four). Plus, we (well, our cable news) has at least been consistent in our “hyper vigilance.” We aren’t, for example, saying we won’t host one soccer tournament while opening our doors to another.
FIFA’s Club World Cup is still scheduled to kickoff Rabat on Dec. 10. Meanwhile, CAF is sorting through “some applications of national associations confirming their desire to host the 2015 competition on the dates agreed.” Not that that isn’t problematic, too: