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CAF clarifies controversy over RS Berkane Jersey, promises action to Algerian FA

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has reportedly addressed concerns raised by the Algerian Football Federation (FAF) regarding the contentious issue involving USM Algiers and RS Berkane. This dispute, which has political undertones, centers around the RS Berkane jersey featuring a map of Morocco that includes Western Sahara, a territory Algeria considers independent.

The case is currently under review by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a filing deadline extended from May 17 to June 3.

This extension allows both USM Algiers and FAF, as well as RS Berkane, the Moroccan Federation (FRMF), and CAF, more time to prepare their briefs.

In a significant development, FAF President Walid Sadi met with CAF President Patrice Motsepe and Secretary General Véron Mosengo-Omba on the sidelines of the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok.

According to Algerian journalist Yazid Ouahib, as reported by Le360 Sport, Sadi voiced Algeria’s concerns about Morocco’s influence within CAF and the approval of the contentious jersey.

During the meeting, Sadi questioned the CAF leaders about Morocco’s perceived control over various CAF commissions and specifically about the validation of RS Berkane’s jersey, which features a politically sensitive map.

CAF regulations prohibit political messages on jerseys, making this issue particularly controversial.

In response, Motsepe appeared to distance himself from the decision, attributing it to the Organizing Committee for Interclub Competitions.

“I am not aware of this subject. It was the Interclub Competitions Organizing Commission which made this decision. I asked the administration to inform me,” Motsepe reportedly said.

Mosengo-Omba, the Swiss-Congolese official, indicated that the oversight was due to employees focusing on advertisements rather than the map.

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“The employees did not pay attention to the map when approving the jersey. They were only focused on the advertisements,” he reportedly responded.

Additionally, Sadi’s request to postpone the Disciplinary Jury meeting, initially scheduled for last Wednesday, was granted.

This postponement delays potential sanctions against USM Algiers, allowing more time for a thorough review of the situation.

This high-level engagement between the FAF and CAF highlights the intricate relationship between sports and politics in international football.

The resolution of this dispute could set a precedent for how CAF handles politically sensitive issues in the future.

As the CAS deliberates, football communities in Algeria and Morocco remain keenly interested in the outcome, hoping for a fair resolution that respects both the sport’s integrity and the political sensitivities involved.

The promise from CAF to revisit the issue and ensure regulatory compliance suggests a commitment to transparency and fair play, crucial for maintaining the sport’s credibility across the continent.

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Ibrahim Sannie

Ibrahim Sannie

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