President for Confederation of African Football, Patrice Motsepe has reacted to Morocco’s decision not to participate at the seventh edition of the CHAN tournament.
The Moroccan national team, holder of the two previous editions of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), is boycotting the tournament which begins today, Friday, January 13, in Algeria.
The announcement was made on Thursday by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF).
The Moroccan Federation had demanded the opening of Algerian airspace, closed since September 22, 2021 to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft following the severance of diplomatic relations with Rabat, in order to be able to reach Algeria directly without going through the Tunisia or Europe. This request was not commented on by the Algerian Football Federation (FAF) and the country’s political authorities.
The diplomatic crisis between Algeria and Morocco weighs, visibly, on sports competitions. A few months ago, the African Handball Confederation decided to withdraw the organization of the 2022 and 2024 editions from Algeria and Morocco, due to their war.
Reacting to Morocco’s decision at a press conference in the capital Algiers, Motsepe said: “We have seen the press release from the Moroccan Federation. What we can say is that countries are sovereign and we have a responsibility,” he told a lively press conference at the stadium. Nelson Mandela.
And to add: “We have tried in recent days to speak with each party. The complications were there before I became president. Politics must not get involved in football, and our commitment is to promote football. This tournament will be played and will continue and decisions will be made according to the rules that govern CAF”.
Motsepe did not want to comment on the possible sanctions of Morocco, speaking of “complying with the rules of CAF and FIFA”.
Morocco have been drawn in Group C along with Ghana, Sudan and Madagascar.
They were scheduled to start their title defence with Sudan on Sunday.