Civil conflict and poor infrastructure have cost Cameroon its right to host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), the continent’s largest sporting event, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said Saturday.
Cameroon was selected in 2014 to host the football competition, scheduled for next June.
However, initially peaceful demonstrations in the English-speaking region of the country for the last two years were met with brutal military crackdowns, igniting a separatist movement and armed conflict that have led to allegations of genocide and the impending threat of civil war.
Due to the violence and a decidedly inadequate stadium infrastructure, the CAF ruled to strip the South African country of the coveted position during a meeting in Accra, Ghana this weekend.
The decision comes after numerous concerns were raised by the association over the last few months over the “significant delay” in the stadium's renovation.
CAF president Ahmad Ahmad told the press that although the confederation doesn’t have a "Plan B," they hope to find a replacement by the end of the year and countries are welcome to apply.
“I know that there are countries which are interested, rest assured, candidate countries will come forward,” Ahmad said, adding that South Africa and Morocco are among the top possible contenders.
The international football tournament will begin in June and includes around 24 teams from across the African continent.