Catholic Bishops’ Conference Kicks Against AFCON 2015 Hosting

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AFCON 2015

Catholic Bishops in Ghana have urged the government not to accept hosting the 2015 edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) should Morocco pull out, a statement released here over the weekend said.
The statement signed by Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops? Conference observed it would not be prudent to hold the biennial football tournament next January in view of the threat posed by the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) in West Africa following which Morocco and others have called for its postponement.
According to the statement, ?the state of readiness and the limited time available to us, we wish to reiterate the real and palpable threat posed by Ebola in our sub-region. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named Ghana and 14 other countries as the likely destinations of the disease.

AFCON 2015

In the event that Ghana hosts the tournament, we will be increasing the risk of the entry and spread of the disease in our homeland because of the mass congregation of people who may be attending the games.?
Ghana, the Bishops Conference noted was not ready to host the tournament because the country would not be able to meet the necessary logistical and infrastructural preparations vis-?-vis renovation of stadia, training pitches, hotels and guest houses before the tournament kick starts in mid-January next year.

The country?s current economic challenges which has resulted in labor unrest the group emphasized makes it difficult for the West African country to commit resources within the limited time frame to host such an event.
?We are aware of the demands of some teachers and nurses for the payment of their salary arrears, some of which have been paid for only three months out of 18 months; we recognize that the payment to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is still in arrears.

We know that some statutory payments, including District Assembly Common funds (DACF) have not been made, among others. The hosting of CAN 2015, therefore, should neither be the preoccupation nor the contemplation for now. Ghana should not consider hosting the games should Morocco pull out. The dangers are too obvious,? the statement said.

Morocco was billed to host AFCON 2015 but appealed to the organizers, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), to postpone the tournament in view of the threat posed by the EVD, which has currently killed more than 4,600 people, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone with over 10,000 reported cases.
CAF subsequently rejected the appeal to postpone the tournament, explaining that since its inception in 1957, the tournament has never been postponed and requested South Africa and Ghana to be on standby in case Morocco was not persuaded to rescind its decision.

South Africa has come out boldly to reject the offer but Ghana, on the other hand, was yet to take a decision but many were of the opinion pronouncements of the country?s Minister for Youth and Sports seemed to favor the hosting of the tournament.

?The indecision on the matter has so far brought us into a state of anxiety and nebulousness, even as many calls continue to advocate the postponement of the tournament by CAF. We, therefore, wish to add our voice to the numerous calls made by many other people and groups for the postponement of the tournament scheduled for next year,? the statement further emphasized.

Source: By Francis Tandoh

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