Ivory Coast to host Benin despite unrest

ABIDJAN - The Ivory Coast football federation says their African Nations Cup qualifier against Benin at the end of month will go ahead in the capital Abidjan despite ongoing civil unrest in the country.

The Ivorian Football Federation said it had no plans to move the match, scheduled for 27 March, to a neutral venue even though the security situation in the west African country is deteriorating with more violent clashes reported on Saturday.

"The Nations Cup qualifier and an Olympic Games qualifier for our under-23 team will not be moved despite rumours. We have informed the Confederation of African Football the matches are going ahead," a statement issued by the federation said.

"The necessary security arrangements will be made for the two games to be played in the best conditions. Our opponents will be well received and looked after without any concern."

However, the federation has cancelled indefinitely the start of the new Ivorian league season, which had been set for this weekend.

Hundreds have died in the violence so far since disputed November election results. Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to step down despite victory for his opponent Alassane Ouattara according to U.N.-certified results.

Close to half a million Ivorians across the country have been forced to flee their homes.