FIFA has confirmed today that preparations for the Club World Cup in Morocco are continuing “as planned” despite concerns over the Ebola epidemic.
The governing body has stated that it remains in contact with Moroccan authorities and are taking advice from the World Health Organization to “constantly update its position”.
Morocco is due to host the 10-day tournament, which features Champions League winners Real Madrid, starting on December 10th with the final scheduled for December 20th. The Club World Cup brings together the champions of each of FIFA’s six confederations and the national league champion from the host country. Matches will be played in Rabat and Marrakesh.
The remaining participants are: San Lorenzo (South America), Auckland City (Oceania), Cruz Azul (Central America), Moghreb Tetouan (Africa – hosts), Sydney Wanderers or Al Hilal (Asia) and either Vita Club or Entente Setif (Africa).
“The health of the players, officials and football fans remains the highest priority, just as it would for any FIFA competition,” the world governing body said in an official statement.
“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently no cases of Ebola reported from Morocco and therefore all preparations continue as planned.”
“FIFA is monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the Moroccan authorities and constantly updating its position in accordance with WHO technical guidance. Should the situation change we will be in touch with the participating FAs accordingly.”
The world’s governing body also outlined another set of recommendations in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.
In addition to requesting that clubs perform “medical checks” on players returning from matches involving high-risk nations, FIFA supported Confederation of African Football’s decisions to move fixtures featuring Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to a neutral venue.
FIFA also urged the “immediate isolation” of any player displaying Ebola symptoms ahead of an international fixture, while instructing those from the worst-hit countries to perform self check-ups.
Fans will also be provided with information regarding Ebola prevention ahead of fixtures where they face a potential risk of contracting the virus.
FIFA says it will continue to work with the WHO to assess the evolution of the illness and “take the appropriate measures for the communities and athletes.”
The current Ebola outbreak has infected more than 10,000 people and killed almost 5,000.
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