Lawyer specializing in international sports arbitration: These are the legal consequences of the Algerian Federation’s refusal to play the match with its host Nahdet Berkane

Despite the presence of the two teams on the field, the match between RS Berkane and USM Alger did not take place on Sunday evening in the second leg of the African Confederation Cup, due to the shirt crisis and the Moroccan map.

The crisis in Algeria began last week when the RS Berkane team objected to the Algerian authorities confiscating its luggage at Houari Boumediene Airport in the Algerian capital, Algiers, because the team’s official shirt included a map of Morocco with its entire desert.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided to consider USM Alger a loser with a score of 0-3 by default.

A message was sent to the Algerian Football Federation, which said: “Punishing the Algerian Football Association as losers with a score of 0-3. The Competitions Committee referred the case to the Disciplinary Committee for further penalties.”

In Berkane, the Algerian team attended and informed CAF in the technical meeting the day before the match of its objection to the presence of this map on its hosts’ shirt. USM Alger players arrived at the municipal stadium of Berkane on Sunday, but they did not warm up, unlike the Berkane players, and remained in the locker room.

While the fans were anticipating an exciting Maghreb summit, neither team nor the refereeing crew entered the field at the time of the match. The Moroccan team entered after a quarter of an hour to greet the fans and then left again.

CAF regulations in such cases
Anis Ben Mim, a lawyer specializing in international sports arbitration, confirms to France 24 that if the match is not played, the decision is always taken by the Competitions Committee in accordance with the provisions of Article 11 of the CAF Confederation Cup regulations.

Regarding the expected decision of this committee, Ben Mim believes that the Algerian team will face severe penalties for not playing the match. In such cases, CAF regulations stipulate that the team that refuses to play its match will be excluded from African team competitions for two seasons, in addition to heavy fines.

Regarding the Algerian team’s justification for not playing the match due to the presence of the map on the Nahdet Berkane shirt, Ben Mim confirms that the sports equipment used by any club in an African competition is pre-approved by CAF before the start of the competition, and the use of this equipment is mandatory and must be consistent with what was presented. To CAF.

The Algerian Federation resorts to international sports arbitration
On the other hand, Algerian reports indicate that the Algerian Federation intends to appeal the decision to lose the match before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Algerian newspapers reported that the president of the local football federation traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland, to prepare a defense file on the Algerian team before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TASS).

According to Al Khabar newspaper, the Algerian Federation recruited five lawyers from France, Italy and Switzerland who had previously argued similar cases.

Relations between the two neighbors are witnessing an ongoing diplomatic crisis since Algeria severed its relations with Rabat in the summer of 2021, accusing the latter of committing hostile acts against it, within the framework of the artificial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara and because of Algeria’s interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco.

From: Fez News website

About محمد الفاسي