With stadiums only half-built and a violent separatist rebellion playing out dangerously close to planned venues, Cameroon was stripped of the right to host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Friday little more than six months before kickoff.
It’s the fourth successive time Africa’s top tournament has had to change host country at the last minute.
The decision was made by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after a special meeting of its executive committee in Ghana, where the women’s African Cup is being played.
CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad, said it was “a crucial and decisive moment for the good of African football.”
A new, rushed bidding process will now take place, with CAF saying a new host country would be chosen by Dec. 31.
Morocco, which lost out to a joint United States-Canada-Mexico bid to host the 2026 World Cup, had already been touted as a replacement host and is seen as the favourite to step in.
The tournament is scheduled to be played from June 15 to July 13 and is the first African Cup to be expanded from 16 to 24 teams.
Those extra teams caused Cameroon to commit to having six stadiums and not the usual four for an African Cup, and put added pressure on the infrastructure.
“A number of compliance conditions have not been met,” CAF said in a statement Friday, adding there was a “gap between the requirements of hosting the AFCON and realities on the ground.”