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11:45 PM UTC Dec 13, 2017
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African Nations Cup in jeopardy as Morocco refuse to host

The 2015 African Nations Cup is in jeopardy after Morocco announced on Saturday that they are no longer willing to host the January tournament this year because of fears over the spread of Ebola.

Morocco had previously asked to postpone the event, but African Football Confederation (CAF) rejected that request.

CAF then set a deadline of Saturday for Morocco to confirm they will host the tournament, but the nation's sports ministry declined, sticking to their request to postpone the tournament until 2016.

In a lengthy statement posted on their Facebook pager, the ministry wrote, "Because of the occurrence of a force majeure, namely the risk of the pandemic Ebola virus and the adverse and uncontrollable consequences that could result... Morocco is making the request to postpone the African Nations Cup 2015/2016.

"With no other nation having taken the opportunity to take over hosting rights from Morocco, CAF officials face the prospect of agreeing to Morocco's demands to delay the tournament until 2016, or cancel it at great financial cost."

CAF, which must now either choose to cancel the event or move it to another country, is due to respond to Morocco's request at an executive committee meeting in Cairo next week.

Morocco face a ban from future tournaments for withdrawing as hosts. Libya have already withdrawn as the host of the 2017 finals.

The virus still rages in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Morocco are concerned over perceptions that could impact the nation's tourism industry.

Guinea and Sierra Leone are both still eligible to qualify but at the bottom of their respective groups. They have played their home qualifiers in different countries to minimise the risk of exposure,

Previously affected by the virus, Senegal -- whose team are in contention to qualify -- was declared Ebola-free on Oct. 17, while Nigeria -- the reigning African champions and struggling to qualify -- was given the same status by the World Health Organisation three days later.

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