Morocco refuse to host 2015 Afcon

The north African nation have asked for the tournament to be postponed until 2016 over fears the Ebola disease could reach the country if they host it in January

Morocco have confirmed they have opted out of hosting the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in light of the Ebola crisis across the continent.

The country have asked for the tournament to be shifted to 2016 to prevent the possible spread of the disease that has ravaged three countries in west Africa, and avoid harming their tourism industry.

Earlier this week the governing body handed Morocco a deadline of this Saturday to make a decision over the competition ahead of a further meeting between African nations in Cairo next week.

A statement from Morocco’s sports ministry said: “The decision is dictated by health reasons because of the serious threat of Ebola and the risk of its spreading.”

The Confederation of African football (CAF) has rejected the idea of postponing or cancelling the competition and will now need to look for new hosts, less than two months before the start of the tournament on January 17, 2015.

Ghana and South Africa have both been approached over staging the showpiece, but neither country has expressed an interested in doing so.

Morocco’s refusal could see the nation handed sanctions in the form of a suspension from future tournaments, despite offering to host the Afcon in 2017 as way of compensating for their late withdrawal.