The decision has been made and Morocco will no longer be the host nation for the 2015 African Cup of Nations. The country has also been suspended from taking part after they decided to pull out. No decision has been announced as to who will now host the competition, but one option could be to move the tournament away from the African continent and move it north to France.
Morocco has asked for the competition to be delayed due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus, but the executive committee had agreed that the original dates for the competition had to be maintained.
It is no secret that a large majority of the countries that are likely to play in the competition in January are French speaking and the French leagues are amongst the most affected competitions as players leave for a few weeks every two years.
If any country could provide the facilities to organise the tournament at very short notice, France would be perfect.
On December 22nd, the leagues stop for a few weeks for the winter break, giving the authorities time to make the final arrangements.
All over France there are a number of excellent stadium facilities that remain unused at the moment and would be perfect for the event.
Former Ligue 1 side Le Mans went bankrupt and their MMArena sits empty. The 25,000 seater stadium hosted SM Caen’s first two home games of the season as their Stade Michel D’Ornano hosted the Equestrian World Championships.
Add to that list the Stade de France in Paris, Sedan’s Stade Louis Dugauguez, the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble and Stade Jean Laville in Gueugnon and you have a good number of stadiums that can host matches at short notice.
There are a huge number of cultural links that bring African nations and French cities together. France is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, and with the added football infrastructure and transport links, it is the perfect alternative to host the tournament in January.
It would also give the opportunity for a large number of football fans to see the country they were either born in, or born into via family ties, for the first and maybe only time.
It would be a shame to see the tournament leave the African continent, but France is the closest the Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) can get to an African alternative while moving it outside of the continent.