The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FMRF) have said they will withdraw from their defence of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria unless they are allowed to fly directly from the country’s capital Rabat.
Amidst tensions between the two north African neighbours, direct flights were cancelled in 2021 and the FMRF insist the Atlas Lions, who made history at Qatar 2022 by becoming the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final, will only partake if they are allowed to fly from Rabat to Constantine where their group stage games will be played.
The draw for the tournament, which permits only players from the domestic leagues in Africa, took place on Tuesday with Morocco pitted in Group C against Madagascar, Sudan and Ghana, who eliminated Nigeria in the qualifiers.
Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the FMRF, headed an executive board meeting on Tuesday evening when the ultimatum was made with the added criteria that the team must travel with Royal Air Maroc.
Morocco defeated Mali in the delayed tournament in Cameroon in 2021 to becoming the first nation to win consecutive CHAN titles.
The first match of the seventh edition of CHAN sees Algeria face Libya in Group A on January 13, with Morocco set to play Sudan two days later.
AFRICAN NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP DRAW:
Group A: Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Mozambique.
Group B: DR Congo, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Senegal.
Group C: Morocco, Sudan, Madagascar, Ghana.
Group D: Mali, Angola, Mauritania.
Group E: Cameroon, Congo, Niger.