Johannesburg — THREE countries worst affected by the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus will play their Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015 qualifiers at neutral venues, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed on Thursday.
"CAF will maintain its schedule of matches on the entire continent, except for 3 countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which have recorded a great number of cases.
"CAF has decided to ask the three Federations to relocate to a neutral country the matches of their teams participating in CAF competitions, for a period up to mid-September 2014," CAJ News said.
The underlying consequence of this decision is the fact that the group phase matches Guinea vs Togo on 5 September 2014, and Sierra-Leone vs. DR Congo scheduled for September 10, will be played on neutral grounds.
The Sierra Leone Football Federation has already taken steps with its Ghanaian counterparts to host their game in the latter's territory.
CAF said it was following the situation with much concern and peculiar attention took its decision based on "advice from several medical experts on the potential impact of the spread of the Ebola virus in relation to the organisation of matches and CAF competitions" adding that a formal notice has also been received from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in that regard.
The WHO has called for "an avoidance of huge gatherings that could facilitate the spread of the Ebola virus."
According to WHO statistics, 1848 cases have been reported causing the deaths of 1013 persons in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
"CAF will reassess the situation will be done in mid-September 2014 in order to allow or not these countries to receive teams and organise CAF matches and competitions.
"In addition, according to the same WHO recommendations, it is extremely important that every Federation, whose country is affected by the virus, should ensure that their respective delegations travelling abroad can be examined before their departure in order to ensure that no member can transmit Ebola," CAF stated.