CAS to Hear Algerian Challenge in Morocco Map Controversy

CAS to Hear Algerian Challenge in Morocco Map Controversy
GETTY IMAGES Image caption, The Court of Arbitration for Sport is based in Lausanne, Switzerland

CAS to Hear Algerian Challenge in Morocco Map Controversy

A dispute over an elongated map of Morocco featured on a football shirt has escalated, prompting the Algerian Football Federation (Faf) and club side USM Alger to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

The controversy arose during the Caf Confederation Cup semi-final between USM Alger and RS Berkane, as the latter insisted on wearing a jersey displaying a map of Morocco that includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara. This move was viewed as a political provocation in Algeria.

Faf and USM Alger have appealed to Cas, arguing that the Berkane shirt violates the laws of the game, Confederation of African Football (Caf) regulations, and Fifa rules, which prohibit the inclusion of political statements or images on football attire.

Cas has initiated proceedings and appointed an arbitral panel to address the matter. While no specific timeline has been provided for the case to be heard, written submissions from all involved parties—including Caf, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (RMFF), and RS Berkane—are being exchanged.

The dispute has affected the semi-final matches, with Berkane ultimately progressing to the final after Caf awarded them two 3-0 wins. The first-leg match was called off when Berkane refused to play in Algeria after their shirts were confiscated, leading to a 3-0 defeat being awarded to USM Alger. The second leg, scheduled in Morocco, was also canceled when USM Alger declined to take the field, resulting in another 3-0 win for Berkane.

The ongoing tension between Algeria and Morocco, exacerbated by the long-standing dispute over Western Sahara, underscores the political sensitivity of the issue. With diplomatic ties severed and the border closed between the two countries, the football dispute reflects broader geopolitical tensions in the region. The outcome of the case at Cas will likely have implications not only for football but also for the political dynamics between Algeria and Morocco.

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