Cameroon has been declared unfit for hosting the next Africa Cup of Nations which begins in June, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed.
The decision was made in a meeting of CAF officials in Accra, Ghana on Friday, and has sparked "an open and urgent call for new host country bids" to ensure the tournament goes ahead next summer.
Morocco is the favorite to step in and host AFCON, which is scheduled to be played June 15 to July 13, the Associated Press understands.
CAF "noted that a number of compliance conditions have not been met" merely months before Cameroon's AFCON showpiece was set to begin. The country's preparations are said to be well short of what is expected from a host at this stage, and the CAF Security Inspection Team also flagged concerns "that could impact on the success of the most prestigious African competition."
Contractual obligations apparently made it "impossible" to postpone the tournament.
The Associated Press also notes "a violent separatist rebellion in parts of the country" as being chief reasons for the Central African nation being stripped of hosting duties. The cities of Limbe and Bafoussam were slated as venues for matches, but are situated in regions believed to be heavily impacted by fighting between English-speaking separatists and government forces.
It's understood two inspection visits in October represented a last-chance saloon for Cameroon to prove its ability to stage the tournament.
The last four editions of AFCON were not held in the country they were initially awarded to.