CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has no plans to postpone any club or international fixtures due to the coronavirus outbreak, but is open to scheduling matches behind closed doors, the organisation said on Wednesday.
There are two full rounds of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for the international window later this month, while the African Champions League and Confederation Cup club competitions are in the knockout stages.
A number of nations, including Madagascar, have already banned the hosting of international sports events, putting them on a collision course with CAF and providing the potential that they may have to forfeit matches.
“CAF has decided to maintain the schedule of all competitions,” a statement said.
“Also, CAF has been informed of the restrictive measures taken by the authorities of some member associations and is in contact to find solutions on a case-by-case basis, with the option of the organisation of matches behind closed doors.”
Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet has already suggested this week that the qualifiers should be postponed to June, as, while the spread of the coronavirus on the African continent has so far been slow, a number of players from hard-hit nations such as Italy, France, Spain and Germany will be asked to travel.
“The risk of spreading the virus in Africa is huge. Let’s be wise. Protect players, fans and the population of all African countries,” Belgian Saintfiet said.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis