In its first response to the Moroccan Football Association’s requirement to allow its local football team to travel directly from the Moroccan capital Rabat to Constantine in Algeria, otherwise it will withdraw from the tournament, Algeria said that it is not bound by the text of the laws of the African Football Association “K”.
Algeria will host the African Football Championship for local teams from January 13 to February 4, 2023, while an Algerian football official indicated that all teams sent a list of delegations that will soon arrive in Algeria, and no team notified Algeria of its absence from the tournament.
The Moroccan Football Federation, condition That Algeria allow the entry of the Moroccan plane carrying the team’s players to Algeria, directly, while the airspace between the two neighboring countries is closed due to a previous Algerian decision that followed the severing of relations between them.
The head of the Algerian Organizing Committee, Rachid Okali, said that no country has notified the organization on which it is based of its absence from the session, stressing that the organizing country is not obligated to guarantee the movement of the participating teams from abroad.
Okali added, during a press conference, that the regulations of the African Union do not oblige the host of the tournament to ensure the movement of participating teams from outside the country, and he said, “We are only obligated to ensure the movement of teams internally between states.”
He followed that by saying, “All delegations sent lists of players who will participate, and we do not have any official document stating the absence of any team,” indicating that his committee had not received any notification from the Moroccan side of his team’s absence from the tournament.
Then he continued, stressing that the Ugandan team was the only one to publish a statement about his absence before confirming his participation, indicating that he had deliberately announced the absence in order to force the authorities there to sponsor the travel of his players. “Otherwise, no one said he would be absent,” confirms Okali.
These statements come in light of successive tensions between Algeria and the Moroccan monarchy, which led to the severance of relations between them by a unilateral decision by Algeria, which followed that by closing its airspace to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft in 2021.
It is noteworthy that during the meeting of the members of the Moroccan Football Association, on Tuesday, the head of the authority, Fawzi Lakjaa, mentioned the decision of the directorate’s office in its recent meetings with the participation of the national team for under 23 years, in the African Championship for local players that will be hosted by Algeria, where reference was made to Morocco’s correspondence to the federation. The African Football Association regarding respect for the terms of the campaign book to host the African Championships, according to statment issued by the university.
And the statement stated that the Moroccan Football Authority “demanded that the national team travel to the city of Constantine, which will host the matches of the Moroccan elite in this tournament, via a direct flight from the city of Rabat and by means of a private plane of Royal Moroccan Airlines, the official carrier of the national teams, and in the event that this was refused, the directorate decided unanimously. Not to participate in this tournament.