Algerian-Moroccan Football Match Cancelled Over Jersey Dispute

Dispute over Moroccan team's jersey featuring Western Sahara map leads to cancellation of African Confederation Cup semi-final match between Algerian and Moroccan clubs, highlighting ongoing political tensions between the two countries.

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Salman Khan
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Algerian-Moroccan Football Match Cancelled Over Jersey Dispute

Algerian-Moroccan Football Match Cancelled Over Jersey Dispute

The African Confederation Cup semi-final first leg match between Algerian club USM Alger and Moroccan club Renaissance Berkane was cancelled just before kickoff on Sunday due to a dispute over the Moroccan team's jerseys. The row began when Algerian customs officers confiscated Berkane's shirts on the grounds that they carried a map of Morocco that included the disputed Western Sahara territory.

Upon the Moroccan team's arrival in Algeria, their jerseys were seized by customs officials, and the team was detained at the airport for several hours before being permitted to proceed to their hotel. Algeria perceived the map on the jersey as provocative, but Berkane had utilized the same jersey throughout the competition this year.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) initially ruled in favor of Berkane, saying the club had been wearing the same jerseys since the start of the tournament. However, the Algerian football federation (FAF) appealed the decision and intended to take the case to the 'international court of sport'.

Despite the FAF providing Berkane with 'high-quality shirts' without the map, the Moroccan club refused to wear them, stating "there will be no match without shirts with the complete map of the Kingdom of Morocco". After an urgent meeting, CAF affirmed Berkane's right to wear the jersey in the first leg match. However, Berkane remained in their dressing room, seemingly in protest against the jersey issue, causing the match's cancellation.

Why this matters: The cancellation of the match highlights the ongoing political tensions between Algeria and Morocco over the disputed Western Sahara region. The incident shows how these tensions can spill over into the sporting arena and impact high-stakes international competitions.

CAF announced that the matter will be referred to the competent bodies. The tensions surrounding the Western Sahara dispute have strained relations between the two countries since Morocco annexed the territory in 1975. The outcome of the tie and the rescheduling or cancellation of the match remains uncertain as CAF has yet to provide further details on the situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Match between Algerian and Moroccan clubs cancelled over jersey dispute
  • Algerian customs seized Moroccan club's jerseys due to map of Western Sahara
  • CAF initially ruled in favor of Moroccan club, but Algerian FA appealed
  • Moroccan club refused to wear alternate jerseys, leading to match cancellation
  • Dispute highlights ongoing political tensions between Algeria and Morocco