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FIFA says teams from Ebola-hit African countries to hold matches on neutral territories

October 28, 2014, 18:50 UTC+3 GENEVA
The Confederation of African Football is in regular contact with the World Health Organization over the issue of the deadly disease
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GENEVA, October 28. /TASS/. The International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) voiced its support on Tuesday for a proposal made by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that the international matches of national teams from countries in West Africa hit by deadly Ebola virus to be staged on neutral territories.

“FIFA supports the decision by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to organize the international matches of the countries currently experiencing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) intense transmission (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea) on neutral ground,” FIFA said in its statement on Tuesday.

The statement said that the world’s football governing organization had been in regular contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) “reviewing the impact of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on global public health, mass gatherings and in particular its potential effects on football.”

“The FIFA Medical Committee will continue to assess the evolution of the disease and take the appropriate measures for the communities and athletes,” the statement said.

The issue of the deadly virus spread had already jeopardized the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. The authorities of Morocco, which was initially selected to host the tournament, announced earlier in the month that they decided against holding next year’s Africa Cup of Nations biennial football championship citing concerns over the outbreak of deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

The South African Republic followed the steps of Morocco and also decided against hosting the championship with South African Sports Minister Fikile April Mbalula saying that “We are not immune to it (Ebola).”

The CAF earlier stated that it had no plans of postponing or changing the championship’s date of January 17 - February 8.

According to the WHO, the Ebola epidemic was spreading geographically and the death toll exceeded the figure of 4,500, while the number of probable and suspected cases exceeded 9,200.


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