Morocco announced on Thursday the cancellation of its participation in the African Nations Championship (CHAN), a match for regional players, due to the closure of Algerian airspace to Moroccan planes, against a backdrop of crisis between the two countries.
“The Moroccan football selection is not able to travel to Constantine (Algeria) insofar as the final authorization of its Royal Air Maroc (RAM) flight, the official carrier of the Moroccan football selections, from Rabat to Constantine has not been confirmed,” the Moroccan Federation (FRMF) said in a statement.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF), organizer of CHAN, had however informed the FRMF on December 22 that “an authorization in principle had been obtained”, according to the press release. This tournament, reserved for players competing in the national championships, will be held from January 13 to February 4 in Algeria.
24 hours before kick-off, the Moroccan Federation “takes note with regret that obtaining the final authorization for the RAM flight from Rabat to Constantine has unfortunately still not been confirmed by CAF”, underlined the FRMF.
Algiers closed its airspace on September 22, 2021, to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft after breaking diplomatic relations with Rabat. This serious crisis is fueled by the thorny issue of Western Sahara, in the context of permanent tensions between the two enemy brothers.