Moroccan Team Awarded 3-0 Win In Algeria By CAF

Renaissance Berkane, a Moroccan club, has secured a 3-0 victory against Union Sportive de la Médina d’Alger (USMA) in the initial leg of their African Confederation Cup semifinal, notwithstanding their refusal to engage in the match due to the confiscation of their kit by Algerian customs.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday that the second leg, scheduled to take place in Morocco on Sunday, will proceed as planned. Additionally, USMA, the defending champions, will be subjected to further sanctions by CAF.

Berkane arrived at the stadium in Algiers last Sunday for the first leg but opted not to emerge from the changing rooms at the designated kickoff time following the confiscation of their kit by Algerian customs upon their arrival two days earlier.

The jerseys worn by Berkane feature a small map of Morocco on the chest area, inclusive of Sahara, a contentious issue in the relations between the two neighbors.

Throughout their Confederation Cup campaign this season, the Moroccan club has consistently sported this motif. However, Algerian commentators have deemed it provocative, citing regulations prohibiting the display of politically charged symbols on football attire.

This incident, which led to the delay of the Moroccan side at the Algiers airport for several hours, is not the first instance where diplomatic tensions between the two nations have spilled into the realm of sports.

In the previous year, Morocco declined to participate in the African Nations Championship tournament hosted by Algeria due to the latter’s refusal to permit direct charter plane flights.

The closure of the border between Algeria and Morocco, along with the ban on Moroccan aircraft from entering Algerian airspace since August 2021, follows Algiers’ decision to sever ties with Rabat, citing “hostile actions” against Algeria.

Tensions stemming from the dispute over Western Sahara have marred relations between the two nations ever since Morocco annexed the territory following Spain’s withdrawal in 1975.