Soccer-CAF stop Libyan and Ivorian clubs playing at home

CAIRO, March 18 Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:55pm GMT

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CAIRO, March 18 (Reuters) - Libya's Al Ittihad, the club that Muammar Gaddafi's son Saidi used to play for, will face Ivory Coast's Jeunesse Club Abidjan in a one-off game on a neutral venue in the African Champions League second round.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Friday that neither Libya or Ivory Coast could host African club competition matches this weekend because of the security situation in both nations.

Instead, the matches involving Al Ittihad and the Ivorian trio of ASEC Abidjan, Jeunesse Club Abidjan and Africa Sports will be reduced to single leg ties with the affected clubs conceding home advantage.

Al Ittihad and Jeunesse Club Abidjan were due to face each other this weekend but must now agree on a neutral venue for a one-off match between April 1-3, a CAF statement said.

ASEC Abidjan's first leg trip to Harare to play debutant Motor Action of Zimbabwe on Saturday will now be the only match between the two and decide progress to the next round.

Likewise Africa Sports will not play the first leg of their African Confederations Cup second round tie this weekend and will face USFA of Burkina Faso on April 2.

The decision by CAF puts in jeopardy Ivory Coast's plans to host their African Nations Cup qualifier against Benin in Abidjan next weekend.

Libya are supposed to play a qualifier against the Comoros Islands at the same time but that match has already been postponed because of the fighting in Libya.

The African Youth Championships, due to start in Libya on Friday, have been moved to South Africa, kicking off on April 16. The eight-nation tournament decides which four African countries go to the under-20 World Cup in Colombia this year.

Last week Ivorian authorities cancelled the scheduled start of their new league season.

In Tunisia, authorities fearful over more public demonstrations, have ordered the country's best supported club Esperance to host their Champions League match agaist ASPAC of Benin behind close doors on Saturday, reports said.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Martyn Herman) To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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