Africa Football Regulator Moves Site of Games on Ebola Concern

Aug 13, 2014 7:21 am ET

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The Confederation of African Football has asked Sierra Leone and Guinea to play soccer matches scheduled for next month on neutral ground as the worst- ever outbreak of Ebola widens in those countries.

Sierra Leone’s Sept. 10 match against the Democratic Republic of Congo will be played in Ghana, the association said in a statement on its website. The site for Guinea’s game on Sept. 5 versus Togo hasn’t been determined. The Ghana Football Association said in a separate statement yesterday that it hasn’t yet approved hosting the match.

The ban on matches in the Ebola-affected nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea will be reassessed in mid-September, the association said. It follows advice from the World Health Organization against large gatherings of people that might help spread Ebola. The Geneva-based WHO has described the West African outbreak as an international public-health emergency.

The viral disease has killed more than 1,000 people in the three countries since December and may shave off as much as 2 percentage points from economic growth, New York-based risk adviser Teneo Intelligence said in a note today.

Liberia canceled all soccer-related activities last month, including the President’s Cup tournament, and postponed the start of the local league. Three people have died of the virus in Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy.