Friday, February 13, 2015

Morocco Stunned by Football Ban

The bizarre sanctions imposed on Morocco by the Confederation of African Football call into question its authority. Football fans are angry and now it seems the Moroccan football authorities are set to dismiss CAF's ludicrous decision 

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee decision last week to expel Morocco from participating in continental tournaments for the next four years and to fine the country $1 million in addition to a demand an additional $9 million in compensation has been met in Morocco by a mixture of anger and derision. Morocco's decision to postpone the 2015 tournament over fears of the Ebola virus was seen at the time as a prudent decision but now Moroccan players have been unfairly made to pay the price after Morocco was stripped of the right to host the African Nations Cup.

FIFPro's Africa division said in a statement that it was "astonished that the penalties imposed by the CAF should be directed above all and directly against the players. Denying a nation the possibility of playing in three consecutive African Cup of Nations is to sacrifice an entire generation of players, prevent their playing at the highest international level, and disallow their practising an important part of their occupation as professional footballers. It is to put a brake on their development. Why pick on the players in this way...making them pay, and such a heavy price, for the errors of CAF executives?"

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) which was fined $1 million and ordered to pay 8 million euros ($9.1 million) in damages to CAF and its partners. Has rejected the sanctions, saying that "the decisions taken by the executive committee of CAF are against the development of African football, and not based on any statutory basis."

The FRMF issued a statement saying, "The executive committee is totally stunned by the decisions taken by the CAF, which has no relation with the conclusion taken after the meeting in Cairo with the President (of the Moroccan federation)”.

The statement added that FRMF is committed to “take all necessary steps and measures to uphold the rights and interests of Moroccan football.” And that its President Faouzi Lakjaa was empowered to take “all the measures he deems appropriate.”

The FRMF did not elaborate on what it might actually do regarding the CAF’s decisions, but it is reported that Morocco will probably seek to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

This is not the first time in which a national team seeks to appeal a ban decision imposed by the governing body of African football. In 2010, Togo appealed a two-tournament ban imposed by CAF after their national team refused to play in Angola in the wake of a deadly attack on the team bus. The sport’s highest court ruled against CAF’s decision, saying it “did not comply with the CAF competition regulations.”

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