New scandal in Morocco: they suspend a match because of a shirt with the Sahara and they wanted to play naked

An unexpected situation has altered the development of the first leg of the semi-finals of the Confederation Cup between USM Alger and RS Berkane, scheduled for this weekend. The controversy arose because the Moroccan team's shirt displayed a map that included Western Sahara, a territory disputed between Morocco and Algeria for decades. This controversy led to the suspension of the match after the Algerian police confiscated the shirts, evidencing the political and diplomatic complexities surrounding this sensitive issue.

The Algerian authorities have denied the Moroccan football team Renaissance Berkane (Rs Berkane) permission to wear the shirt with a map that included Morocco and Western Sahara in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup semi-finals against Union Sportive de la Médina. d'Alger (Usm Alger). The Confederations Cup is the second most important club football competition after the CAF Champions League. Algeria justified this decision by arguing that the map used did not reflect official UN maps.

The Algerian authorities They confiscated the clothes, even though Berkane had already worn similar models in previous matches of the same competition.. On the same day of the match, with the public in the stands and everything ready to start, they were returned not their original clothing, but some versions without a map that the Bang Sports brand, supplier to the Moroccan team, would later describe as “fakes.” The players refused to use it and even considered jumping onto the grass bare chested: they were ready to warm up with just their tracksuit jacket, without anything underneath, but a CAF employee prevented them.

The Moroccan team was finally unable to play the match, disappointing the more than 40,000 spectators present at the July 5, 1962 stadium in Algiers. Only the Algerian team took the field, but without the referees. After a few minutes of warming up, the Moroccan team finally left the field about half an hour after the scheduled time, Algerian media reported. The Moroccan press highlights that the African Football Confederation had rejected the Algerian Football Federation's appeal regarding the use of its shirt by RS Berkane. The situation is part of the broader diplomatic crisis between both countries, after the breakdown of relations between Algiers and Rabat in the summer of 2021. Algeria accuses Morocco of carrying out “hostile actions” against it.

The Federation of Western Sahara has issued a statement following the controversy over the Moroccan RS Berkane kit.

“Sport should be a vehicle for unity, peace and justice, and its manipulation for political purposes is totally unacceptable. “We demand that the fundamental principles of sport be respected,” they say. At the same time, they call for international solidarity and ask for concrete actions to prevent sport from being used as a tool “to legitimize human rights violations.”

Now, a decision must be made before the 28th, the date on which the second leg should be played.