Morocco avoid ban over no-show in Algeria
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) will not sanction Morocco for their no-show at this year’s Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) in Algeria.
In a statement, CAF said its disciplinary board had found the North Africans failed to participate in the tournament, “due to circumstances totally beyond their control, and as such no sanction of whatsoever nature is imposed on the Royal Moroccan Federation.”
CHAN is a tournament exclusive to players playing in their national domestic leagues.
Morocco withdrew on the eve of the competition after being denied permission to fly into Algeria from their capital Rabat using the country’s national carrier Royal Air Maroc, as a political spat spilled over into football.
The two neighbouring countries have been embroiled in a diplomatic row and in 2021 Algeria severed ties with Morocco, a move which included suspending direct flights in both directions.
Failure to honour their place could have resulted in the two-time CHAN champions being banned from the next edition, an outcome they have escaped.
Caf also dismissed the Algerian Football Federation’s (FAF) claim for damages.
Mandela’s political remarks in Mandela Stadium
Meanwhile, FAF also avoided a possible sanction for political remarks made by Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zwelivelile Mandela, at the tournament’s opening ceremony, held in the newly-opened Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers.
Mr. Mandela caused a political row when he said as part of his speech, “The last colony of Africa, Western Sahara, let us fight to free Western Sahara from oppression.”
Western Sahara, a sparsely populated area situated on the northwest coast of Africa, has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people, with Algeria backing the Saharawi’s claim for independence.
Caf has reiterated a warning that politics must be kept out of its events in future.