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Hosts Morocco deny pulling out of Africa Cup of Nations over Ebola fears

Steve Bardens

Reports emerged on Thursday that Morocco had withdrawn as hosts of the Africa Cup of Nations over public health fears regarding the current outbreak of the Ebola virus, but government spokesman Mustapha Khalfi denies those reports, instead claiming that Morocco has only asked CAF to postpone the tournament.

Earlier, African football journalist Gary Al-Smith reported that Morocco had pulled out as hosts of the tournament.

Fears over the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa have already led to international football being proscribed in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. An earlier request from Morocco to postpone the tournament, made following a report from the country's health ministry, had been initially rejected by the African Football Condefederation (CAF). Further discussions had been planned on November 2, with a delegation from CAF due to visit Morocco the following day.

CAF have contacted a number of countries, including Ghana, to assess the feasibility of moving the competition at short notice. Other reports suggest Egypt and South Africa could also be options; the latter nation took on the 2013 tournament at short notice, after the conflict in Libya prevented them hosting the tournament.

This post has been updated.