Morocco have been banned from the next two African Nations Cups and fined $1 million (656,000 pounds) for pulling out of hosting this year’s competition, the Confederation of African Football has announced.
CAF also ordered the Moroccan Football Federation to pay compensation of eight million euros (5.9 million pounds) for losses sustained by CAF, its stakeholders and partners as a result of its decision not to host the tournament.
Morocco pulled out of hosting the tournament due to the Ebola epidemic, with Equatorial Guinea stepping in at short notice to stage it.
Morocco in October requested to postpone the tournament by a year before failing to respond to a CAF deadline in November to confirm whether they would go ahead with hosting.
After a meeting of the CAF executive committee in Malabo on Friday, the federation said in a statement: “Morocco had based its request to postpone the tournament by a year on 10 October 2014, on allegations ‘of the highest health risk’. Morocco cited the outbreak of the Ebola virus as a case of force majeure in justifying its request for postponement, citing in particular the risk of contamination of its population because of anticipated fans’ flows.
“CAF raised objections and inadmissibility of Morocco’s request who were obliged to state their position of withdrawal from the organisation of the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations by 11 November 2014.
“The executive committee considered that, contrary to what the Royal Moroccan Football Federation cited, force majeure cannot be accepted for the benefit of the federation.”
CAF also confirmed the punishments, which see Morocco banned from the 2017 and 2019 editions of the African Nations Cup.
They won the competition in 1976 and were beaten finalists in 2004, but have since failed to progress beyond the first round.