Cameroon have lodged an official complaint against the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) over the body’s decision to strip the nation of the hosting rights for this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Morocco: ‘We don’t want to host 2019 Afcon’
Cameroon were then offered the rights to host the 2021 edition – a proposal accepted by the nation’s president, Paul Biya.
However, ACFAC is also filing a second complaint against Caf for its decision to expand the competition from a 16-team event to one comprising 24 sides. The eight-team increase only came three years after Cameroon was first announced as the 2019 host nation in 2014.
ACFAC president Henri Claude Balla Ongolo told BBC Sport: “Things were going to be difficult for Cameroon. Caf should shoulder the blame and this is why we have decided to take legal action against Caf.
“We are viable as hosts. We are five months away and a lot of things can change.”
The debate over Afcon’s hosting rights has become increasingly widespread following the decision to strip Cameroon of this year’s tournament. By handing Cameroon the 2021 hosting rights, the Ivory Coast – initially awarded the 2021 edition – have now been asked to host the 2023 event instead. Consequently, they have also lodged a similar complaint against Caf.
The Ivory Coast Football Federation (Fif) vehemently denied that the body had been consulted or informed of the decision to take the hosting rights from the country, while also stating that it only learnt of the announcement through the media.
The statement said: ‘The Ivorian Football Federation wishes to formally deny this allegation. No Ivorian state authority, nor any leader of the federation, at any level whatsoever, has been contacted or approached by the Confederation of African Football before taking this decision.
‘In addition, president Augustin Sidy Diallo was in Accra to attend the final of the Women’s Afcon and at no time was he informed by any leader of the Confederation of African Football regarding this matter. The Ivorian Football Federation deplores this way of handling the subject.’
One of Egypt or South Africa will host the 2019 competition, after they were the only two countries to put forward submissions. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) had originally declined the opportunity to bid, placing its support behind a Moroccan bid. However, when Morocco also declined to join the hosting race, Egypt submitted a late proposal. A final decision will be made on 9th January, with South Africa the favourite to be awarded the event.
Yet, should the ruling go in the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) favour, it could lead to further confusion.
South Africa have not yet secured their place at the competition, with a final qualifier to take place in March. Traditionally, the host nation has been handed automatic qualification to the event, with Egypt already having confirmed their place at the expanded 24-team summer tournament.