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ANOCA await confirmation on whether Morocco will step in to host 2019 African Games

by ZwemZa on July 16th, 2018

The 2015 Games took place in Republic of Congo’s capital city Brazzaville ©Brazzaville 2015

Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) are waiting on a decision from Morocco on whether the country will step in to host the 2019 African Games, insidethegames understands.

ANOCA officials visited Morocco earlier this month to hold talks with officials about the possibility.

A meeting took place between Morocco’s Minister of Youth and Sport, Rachid Talbi Alami, and ANOCA vice-presidents Mustapha Barraf and Joao Costa Alegre.

Ahmed Nasser, President of Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC), was also present.

ANOCA Zone V President William Blick was among those attending the visit.

Prior to the visit, Blick told The New Times that the organisation were “doing all possible to ensure the Games take place” and claimed it would be a “credibility issue” for Africa if they did not.

insidethegames understands official confirmation of whether Morocco would want to host the Games could be given to ANOCA in the next week.

A replacement host has been sought by ANOCA after Equatorial Guinea announced in November that they would no longer be able to organise the event.

Equatorial Guinea was named as host in 2016 in what would have marked the first time the west African country had formed the location for the event.

Falling oil prices and economic problems were cited as one reason for the withdrawal.

Should Morocco opt to step into the breach, it would also mark their first participation at the continental event since the 1978 Games in Algiers.

It followed Morocco leaving the African Union in 1984, after the continental body recognised the independence of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, also known as Western Sahara.

The dispute over Western Sahara, which Morocco claim is part of its territory historically, led to Morocco being outside the African Union for three decades.

They were readmitted to the body last year.

Should Morocco step in, it would come as a major relief to ANOCA with one year to go.

There were reports in recent months that Lusaka in Zambia may host the Games, but no confirmation ultimately emerged.

The Games are due to act as a qualifying event for several sports for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The event has been held on 12 occasions since an inaugural edition in Brazzaville in 1965 – with the Republic of Congo’s capital also hosting the most recent edition in 2015.

In February, ANOCA signed an agreement with the African Union to take control of the organisation and management of the African Games.

The multi-sport event has previously been organised by the Sports Council of the African Union – an umbrella group of continental Governments – rather than ANOCA.

Under the terms of the agreement, the African Union would keep ownership of the Games, but ANOCA would organise, manage and run them.

The AASC would be placed in charge of the technical components of the Games.

It is possible news about the 2019 Games could emerge when the ANOCA Extraordinary General Assembly takes place tomorrow, prior to the African Youth Games in Algiers.

The meeting is aimed at deciding a date for the organisation’s Presidential election, following a spell of turmoil.

In May, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled a new election must be held after it upheld an appeal by Cameroon’s Hamad Kalkaba Malboum.

Kalkaba was controversially disqualified from standing in last year’s election by the ANOCA Executive Committee after being accused of bribery and illegally using the Government in Cameroon to campaign on his behalf.

Ivorian Lassana Palenfo was consequently re-elected by acclamation for a fourth term in office at the ANOCA General Assembly held in Djibouti on May 10 last year.

A complaint was lodged by Djibouti National Olympic Committee President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Aicha Garad Ali over the decision to exclude Kalkaba.

This eventually resulted in a special meeting held after the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in Prague in November, attended by Kuwait’s ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and Spain’s IOC deputy director general Pere Miró.

It was decided there that Palenfo will remain as President of ANOCA but would relinquish all operational functions and office duties to the Executive Committee.

Ultimately CAS ruled a new election must been held.

Michael Pavitt | Inside the Games

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