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2015 Africa Cup of Nations may be canceled over Ebola fears

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Morocco refused to confirm that it will host the tournament, and without interest from alternative hosts, this year's ACON may well be canceled.

Ian Walton

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations is scheduled to run from January 17 to February 8. The continent is already well into the qualification stages, with the final two group stages games to be played during the November international break. But it's possible that the fate of ACON will be unknown when those matches begin on November 14.

The tournament was originally to be hosted by Morocco. However, the country's health ministry declared hosting ACON to be a risk, due to the possibility that the Ebola virus may spread. Morocco then asked the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to postpone the tournament for a year.

CAF rejected Morocco's appeal, calling the fears "alarmist" and pointing out that only one country affected by the Ebola outbreak -- Guinea -- is in the running to qualify for the tournament. CAF then gave Morocco a week to confirm their status as hosts, while also giving the same deadline for countries to step in as replacement hosts.

On Saturday, that deadline came and went. Morocco refused to confirm their host status, and could now face sanctions for withdrawing, should CAF officially strip them of their duties. That decision will be made next week at an executive committee meeting in Cairo.

The trouble is, no country has publicly declared their interest to host in Morocco's absence. Without an alternative venue, the 2015 ACON tournament could well be canceled.