Libya exits as 2017 Cup of Nations host

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has opened a fresh bidding process for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after Libya withdrew as host of the national team tournament.

Libya was originally scheduled to host the 2013 Cup of Nations before CAF took the decision to switch the event to South Africa in September 2011 amid civil unrest and security concerns in the North African country. With South Africa due to host the 2017 tournament, an agreement was reached to swap the hosting rights.

The security situation in Libya has continued to prove a concern with recent weeks seeing the government struggle to control former rebel groups who helped oust former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. CAF announced on Sunday that following a meeting with a Libyan delegation led by the country’s Minister of Youth and Sports and the president of the Libyan Football Federation, the country would withdraw its hosting rights due to the “unstable security situation.”

CAF said countries wishing to host the 2017 Cup of Nations have until September 30 to register their interest with a decision on the rights due next year. CAF also stressed that due to the limited time left to organise the 2017 Cup of Nations, a host country will be selected that can guarantee that accommodation, transportation and hotel facilities, as well as training sites and stadiums already exist.

Libya had planned to invest $314m (€234.3m) on developing stadiums for its staging of the 2017 Cup of Nations, including a new 60,000-seat stadium in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura. A 23,000-capacity stadium was also due to be developed in Misrata, along with another new venue in Benghazi. However, the ongoing fighting in the country has delayed plans for stadium development.