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After Nelson Mandela’s grandson called for support for Sahrawi separatists at the opening of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria, reigniting the crisis between Rabat and Algiers, the Confederation of African Football announced on Sunday that she was going to investigate. Morocco has given up sending its team to participate in the competition in Algeria.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Sunday January 15 that it would investigate after Nelson Mandela’s grandson called for support for Sahrawi separatists at the opening of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria, relaunching the crisis between Morocco and Algeria.
The Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), which has given up sending its team to Algiers, had asked CAF, based in Egypt, to “assume all responsibility for these flagrant transgressions which have no connection with the principles and values of the round ball”.
The latter replied on Sunday that it would “conduct investigations to establish whether and to what extent” these statements “violate the statutes and regulations of CAF and FIFA”.
The African federation “will communicate its conclusions in due course”, continues the press release which affirms immediately that “these political declarations are not those of CAF (…) as a politically neutral organization”.
During the opening ceremony of CHAN in Algiers, Mandla Mandela, a supporter of the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front, called for “fighting to liberate Western Sahara from oppression”, describing this disputed territory as “the last colony in Africa “.
Morocco had immediately condemned “malicious actions” and “despicable maneuvers”.
Western Sahara, a national cause for Morocco, is a former Spanish colony that has been disputed for decades between Morocco and the Polisario Front, supported by Algiers. It is considered a “non-self-governing territory” by the UN.
At the Nelson-Mandela stadium in Algiers, the anti-apartheid icon’s grandson also urged to ‘liberate Palestine’, in open criticism of Morocco which normalized relations with Israel two years ago .
In its press release, the FRMF also denounced anti-Moroccan “racist remarks” made in the stadium during the opening ceremony.
Videos circulating on social media show Algerian supporters chanting anti-Moroccan slogans.
After a standoff, Morocco decided on Friday not to send its U23 team to play in the CHAN because they had not received permission from Algiers to fly there.
Algiers closed its airspace on September 22, 2021 to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft after breaking diplomatic relations with Rabat.