Morocco are reportedly awaiting punishment from African football governing body CAF after the Atlas Lions failed to make it to this year's African Nations Championship in Algeria.
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In 2023, there will be new champions of the biannual tournament as the reigning CHAN winners were unable to compete at this edition of the continental showpiece.
Political tensions between Morocco and Algeria have trickled down into the football world as the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) had their request to fly directly to the city of Constantine from Rabat, via their official partners Royal Air Maroc, denied by the Algerian government as a result of diplomatic ties that were cut in 2021.
It is because of this refusal that the back-to-back reigning champions are currently not contesting in the U23 competition. As per ESPN, the tournament's organising committee is now seeking legal advice from CAF on the applicable consequences for the FRMF after their national team failed to pitch for the tournament.
African football's governing body has sent the case to their Discipline Commission to delve deeper into the matter, with Morocco now facing possible monetary penalties and even a possible ban from future CHAN tournaments.
The 2018 and 2020 winners were set to begin their 2023 campaign against Sudan, whom they had drawn in Group C alongside Madagascar and Ghana, but because they refused to use alternative transportation to get into Algeria rather than flying directly, Sudan were awarded all three points via a walkover victory and the group will now only be contested among the three sides.
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The start of the tournament has been marred by controversy after the grandson of South African political icon Nelson Mandela, Zwelivelile "Mandla" Mandela, made anti-Morocco comments during the opening ceremony of the competition due to the North African country's claim to the Western Sahara region.
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