14 November 2014
A refusal by Morocco to host next month’s 2014 African Cup of Nations soccer tournament for fear that it could import the Ebola virus from West Africa spotlights complex relations between the continent’s Arab and sub-Saharan nations as well as the non-transparent inner workings of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), a constituent member of troubled world soccer body FIFA.
The Moroccan decision to violate the terms of its agreement to host the tournament has prompted CAF to ban it from competing in Africa’s biggest sporting event. The Moroccan decision appears however marred in contradiction.
Morocco can’t escape the impression that it’s decision was informed by prejudice grounded in the fact that Arabs were once among the continent’s foremost slave traders, Morocco’s emergence as a major transit point in efforts by sub-Saharan migrants to reach Europe, and concern about the possible impact of an Ebola case on tourism that accounts for an estimated ten percent of Morocco’s gross domestic product (GDP).
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 17/11/2014