Morocco has rejected sanctions by the Confederation of African Football for withdrawing from hosting the African Cup of Nations, calling them harmful to the sport and against the rules.

Morocco pulled out two months before the tournament's start in January, citing health risks from fans traveling from Ebola-affected regions in West Africa.

It asked CAF for a delay. CAF refused, rebuffed Morocco's stance on Ebola fears, and Equatorial Guinea ended up hosting.

Morocco was expelled from the 2017 and 2019 tournaments and fined $1m. CAF also demanded a further $9m in compensation.

"The executive committee is totally stunned by the decisions taken by the CAF, which has no relation with the conclusion taken after the meeting in Cairo with the president (of the Moroccan federation),'' said the statement.

After that January meeting with CAF head Issa Hayatou, the president of the Royal Federation of Moroccan Football, Faouzi Lakjaa, said the penalty would only be financial.

The statement said Lakjaa was empowered to take 'all measures he deems appropriate', but did not elaborate on what Morocco might actually do.

According to the local press, the federation is divided between those seeking a negotiated solution with the CAF, or appealing their decision to the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In 2010, Togo successfully appealed its two-tournament ban imposed by Hayatou after the national team refused to play in Angola following a deadly attack on the team bus.

Then, the court asked FIFA President Sepp Blatter to mediate between Togo and CAF, and it ruled that the two-tournament expulsion 'did not comply with the CAF competition regulations'.

Last week, CAF suspended Tunisia's federation president and threatened that country with a ban from the next cup if it didn't apologise for suggesting the body was biased against it. Tunisia refused to apologise.

Source: AP