Morocco’s non-participation in CHAN throws spanner in the works;  sparks football legal issues

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA

The non-participation of Morocco in the on-going African Nations Championship in Algeria may have caused situations possibly unforeseen by the current regulations governing the competition.

Chapter 27 of the regulations which deals with ‘withdrawals, match forfeiture and refusal to play’ is silent on a situation whereby a host made it impossible for a visiting team to enter its territory, especially on political ground.

The Chapter 27 and its various articles 56 to 68 did not address the Morocco-Algeria issue.

But article 69 offers a possible way out stating that “the Organising Committee shall deal with cases of force majeure likely raised.”

It is this option that CAF has leaned on when the Organizing Commission met on Monday in Algiers in accordance with the rules of the competition.

First it decided on Group C where Morocco would have featured and played against Sudan last Sunday.

Following the no-show by Morocco, the group will now go ahead with three teams. Consequently, two of the teams will make it to the knockout stage.

This is well captured in the Articles 67 and 68. Withdrawal of teams from the competition has a range of punishments from forfeiture of entry fees to fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 and also being barred from the next edition.

But since the non-participation of Morocco is not just hinged on the team making a unilateral abstention, the matter became complex.

The CHAN Organizing Committee has also referred the matter to the competent CAF judicial body.

Meanwhile, according to an English  news outlet in Rabat, the Morocco World News, has reported that the country’s lawyers’ club has decided to petition FIFA Disciplinary Committee over racist remarks that targeted Morocco and its citizens during last Friday’s CHAN opening ceremony.

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