SA could host Afcon 2015

2014-10-17 00:00

THE South African Football Association (Safa) will hold a meeting today to discuss the possibility of stepping in as emergency hosts of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

This comes after Morocco yesterday called for the tournament to be postponed amid fears of an Ebola outbreak striking that country during the January 17 to February 8 continental showpiece.

Morocco’s request has apparently been met with defiance from Confederation of African Football (Caf), with broadcasting rights and commercial entities making rescheduling impossible.

Government spokesperson Mustapha Khalfi yesterday said the country still wanted to host the event, but was insisting that it be postponed.

If Morocco does pull out of Afcon 2015, they could face sanctions from Caf. The tournament itself would come under threat unless a new host nation was secured within three months.

Enter South Africa.

“On October 12, we received a letter from Caf saying that Morocco wanted to postpone the hosting of the tournament. But because of commercial agreements, broadcasting, et cetera, Caf said that it was impossible to postpone,” Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi told The Witness yesterday.

“The letter was addressed to the Safa president [Danny Jordaan], and inquired as to whether we would be in a position to step in as hosts.”

Chimhavi said that there had been no response to the letter at this stage, and that a meeting would take place today to begin discussions on the prospect of the country hosting its second Afcon in as many years.

“This is a very serious request, and there are many stakeholders to consult and many issues to take into account. There are health issues at play here.

“So when Safa takes a decision, they will take all these things into account.”

South Africa hosted the 2013 Afcon after original host nation Libya pulled out because of ongoing civil war.

Caf’s next executive committee meeting takes place on November 2, with plans on how to tackle Afcon 2015 set to be the first order of business.

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