“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,” reads part of the statement issued by CAF. In an interview with France 24 TV, CAF chief Issa Hayatou said it would be ‘a moral blow’ to Africa’s footballing governing body were the tournament to be postponed as requested by Morocco. “Once you postpone this event, it will open the door for everybody to ask for a delay of any competition and we will no longer be credible. We will hurt our sponsors and partners. Everyone will say we are not ready and finally it is CAF that will pay the price. That is what I told the Moroccans,” Hayatou said.
Morocco claims it has been continually asking CAF to postpone the tournament to 2016 to give a chance to affected countries to get rid of the epidemic. Defending his country decision to pull out of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, Moroccan Minister of Sports, Mohamed Ouzzine told his country’s parliament: “We have not refused to organize CAF. “Every country has the right to take precautions to ensure the safety of its citizens and ready for any scenario.” Reacting to Mr Ouzzine’s fears, Mr Hayatou said: “We cannot sign our death warrant because if we postpone this event it will be very deadly for African football. For 57 years, we have patiently built this house, which today is the pride of all Africans.”
He added: “They [Africans] have this festival every two years and we are not about to leave the opportunity to anyone to destroy the work we have patiently developed over the years. We cannot sign our death warrant because if we postpone this event it will be very deadly for African football. For 57 years, we have patiently built this house, which today is the pride of all Africans. When asked whether there was a possibility of a single or twin hosting of the tournament come next year, Mr Hayatou said: “Do not anticipate. Wait for two or three days. You have waited for a month. The series lasted a month. It is left with 3 or 4 days, so do not be in a hurry.”