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Cameroon loses AFCON hosting rights

Cameroon has been stripped of hosting rights for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) amid delays in stadium construction.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) made the announcement on Friday following an executive committee meeting in Accra, Ghana.

In a statement, CAF said that Cameroon had failed to meet a number of compliance conditions, with the organisation having received detailed updates from a number of inspection visits over nearly 18 months.

CAF’s statement continued: “In addition, after having heard from representatives of the governmental and sports authorities of Cameroon, and reviewed the latest progress on preparations, CAF notes the gap between the requirements of hosting the AFCON and realities on the ground.

“Furthermore, after hearing the conclusions of the CAF Security Inspection Team during their most recent visit to Cameroon, CAF concludes that the Africa Cup of Nations could not be exposed to any issues that could impact on the success of the most prestigious African competition.

“After having considered that a simple postponement of the tournament was impossible because of CAF’s contractual commitments, and the importance of maintaining the competition calendar, the CAF Executive Committee decided that the next edition of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations could not be held in Cameroon.”

CAF will now initiate an urgent call for countries to bid to host next year’s tournament, which had been due to take place from June 15 to July 13. A replacement host will be announced by December 31, CAF said.

The Associated Press news agency reported that Morocco has been touted as a possible host for the tournament, which for the first time will feature 24 teams rather than 16. The expanded tournament meant that Cameroon had to commit to having six venues in place as opposed to four, which placed extra pressure on organisation for the event.

Yaoundé’s Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo (pictured) had been one of the scheduled venues for next year’s tournament.

Image: Nguyano