Algeria Blocks A Moroccan team Over Jersey Map

Algeria Blocks A Moroccan team Over Jersey Map. The airport Algerian officials detained the visiting RS Berkane team for an extended period upon their arrival at Algiers airport. The team’s jerseys, which depicted a map of Morocco inclusive of disputed territories, were confiscated during the ordeal. Despite the ordeal, the match is expected to take place as Reuters reports.

CAF cup

RS Berkane, a renowned two-time winner of the CAF Confederation Cup, had journeyed to Algiers for a scheduled match against USM Alger, the reigning title-holder. However, the actions of Algerian authorities have shifted the focus of the event from sportsmanship to politics.

Videos circulated on social media depicting plainclothes Algerian security personnel engaging in harassment and intimidation tactics against RS Berkane players and officials, apparently with the aim of coercing them into relinquishing their jerseys.

Despite the pressure, RS Berkane members stood firm, citing CAF regulations that mandate the submission of team jerseys prior to matches, with no provision for changes thereafter.

After assurances from CAF officials that their confiscated attire would be returned, the Moroccan team reluctantly proceeded to their hotel. However, as of the time of this report, their jerseys had yet to be returned.

RS Berkane has adamantly stated their refusal to participate in the match without their proper attire. Such a stance could potentially lead to sanctions against Algeria by both CAF and FIFA, including the possibility of RS Berkane being declared the winner of a match they were unable to play, and sanctions against the Algerian national team.

This incident underscores a pattern of politicization of sports by Algerian authorities. Similar instances of diplomatic tensions spilling over into sports have been observed in recent years, raising concerns about fair play and sportsmanship in the region.

The broader implications of these actions extend beyond sports, drawing condemnation from various quarters and highlighting the need for greater respect for the principles of fair play and international sporting regulations.

IFAB regulations

The regulations outlined by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), particularly in Article 4, provide pertinent guidance in this matter. Article 4 specifies restrictions on equipment, particularly regarding the display of “political, religious, or personal” slogans or imagery, including undershirts. Notably, IFAB is a collaborative body comprising FIFA and the founding football associations of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

One suggestion proposed by an Algerian source involved replacing the contentious map with a representation of the Moroccan flag. Conversely, Echoroukonline accused Morocco of politicizing the mission of RS Berkane in Algeria, drawing attention to RS Berkane president Fouzi Lekjaa’s dual role as head of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.

Despite the delays experienced at the airport, Algerian media acknowledged the warm reception extended to the Berkane delegation by Union Sportive de la Medina d’Alger. The RS Berkane team is slated to compete against USM d’Alger in the semifinals of the African Football Confederation Cup on Sunday.

This incident follows Algeria’s previous campaign in February 2021 against depictions of maps portraying the Sahara as part of Morocco, even on items such as small-scale globes.