Football: Morocco barred from next two African Nations Cups

PARIS (AFP) - Morocco will be barred from the next two Africa Cup of Nations as punishment for refusing to host the 2015 edition in January-February, Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou said on Saturday.

"We are going to stick to the rules, that means elimination from the next two Nations Cups," Hayatou told France's L'Equipe sports daily. "On top of that there will be the financial and moral damages to calculate."

Morocco is facing a US$20 million fine for refusing to host the 2015 Cup in its scheduled Jan 17-Feb 8 slot over fears of the spread of the deadly Ebola epidemic to the popular tourist destination, Morocco's Le Matin newspaper suggested this week.

The north African state had called for the Cup to be postponed, but organisers CAF rejected its request, stripping it of its position as host and barring its team from playing in the continental showcase.

Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, which co-hosted the 2012 edition with Gabon, was named as Morocco's replacement as hosts for the troubled 2015 tournament on Friday.

Aside from the former Spanish colony in west Africa who now qualify automatically, three countries are assured of their place in the 2015 Cup - Tunisia, Algeria and Cape Verde Islands.

There are 12 qualifiers scheduled for Saturday with defending champions Nigeria needing a victory in Congo Brazzaville to have a realistic chance of qualifying.