I.Coast footballers will not play in Sierra Leone at home amid Ebola

AFP
A man stands near a banner reading ''Ebola fever!!'' '' prior to a football tournament gathering youth from Guinea near the Koumassi sports center in Abidjan on August 10, 2014
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A man stands near a banner reading ''Ebola fever!!'' '' prior to a football tournament gathering youth from Guinea near the Koumassi sports center in Abidjan on August 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Sia Kambou)

Abidjan (AFP) - Ivory Coast's football federation said Tuesday it is desperately seeking a new venue to play Sierra Leone in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier after the government banned a home match over Ebola virus fears.

The government has refused to allow the match to go ahead in Abidjan on September 6 because of the spread of Ebola which has killed more than 1,350 people in West Africa, said a federation spokesman. Sierra Leone has been particularly badly hit.

"The Ivorian government has informed us of its formal refusal to hold the match in Abidjan. Our authorities do not want to take any risk in the face of the Ebola epidemic," spokesman Eric Kacou told AFP.

"We are looking for solutions to move the match. The calendar established by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) must be respected," Kacou added.

Ivory Coast suspended international sporting events in the country on August 19 as part of its campaign to keep out Ebola. So far no cases have been reported in the country.

The CAF decided in mid-August that Nations Cup qualifying matches involving Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would be moved to a neutral venue because of the virus. Seychelles forfeited their game against Sierra Leone in July after their government cancelled the match.

A match between Guinea and Togo will be played in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on September 5 and a game between Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo on September 10 will also be moved.

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