VENTURES AFRICA – Despite the fears due to the tragic outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus at an all time high, FIFA have announced that preparations for the Club World Cup in Morocco will go ahead as planned. The crux of FIFA’s reasoning for the decision stems from the fact that the Ebola outbreak has so far been largely restricted to the region of West Africa and Morocco has not recorded a single case of an infection with the deadly virus. FIFA thus feel that it is safe to go ahead with plans for the prestigious tournament which sees continental club champions compete for the title of being the ‘champions of the world’.
FIFA have however also said that despite making no changes to plans, the situation will continue to be monitored as the Ebola crisis rages on.
FIFA announced their position via an official statement in which hinted that they will work with the World Health Organization in the next few months.
“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently no cases of Ebola reported from Morocco and therefore all preparations continue as planned,” said FIFA in the statement.
“FIFA is monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the Moroccan authorities and constantly updating its position in accordance with WHO technical guidance.”
The statement also added that FIFA will make contingency plans in case of any changes the statement read: “Should the situation change we will be in touch with the participating clubs accordingly.”
The decision by FIFA will no doubt intrigue many sports administrators and health industry insiders who have continued to monitor the situation as the number of cases of Ebola has passed the 13,500 mark. Already tensions have risen between CAF and Morocco as Morocco, who won the hosting rights of the 2015 AFCON, have requested that the event, scheduled to be played between January and February, be postponed amid fears of the spread of the virus and have also hinted that they could withdraw from hosting altogether should CAF insist on hosting the tournament without making date changes. In response, CAF have reiterated that there will be no changes to the dates and are scheduled to meet officials from Morocco early next month in Rabat.
As part of the measures taken by FIFA to contain the spread of the virus, FIFA have requested that clubs whose players travel to take part in international matches and tournaments, such as the AFCON qualifying series, in close proximity to or involving any of the worst hit nations should undergo stringent medical check-ups upon their return to their bases.
The 2014 World Club Cup is the 11th edition of the competition and will be sponsored by Toyota. Morocco are hosts for the second year in a row and the competition will be held from December 10 to 20, 2014.