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RS Berkane awarded victory by forfeit amid jersey dispute with USM Alger

LAMINE

The semi-final first leg of the CAF Cup between RS Berkane and USM Alger concluded in a forfeit, granting victory to the Moroccan side in the wake of a contentious jersey dispute.

The match, which was poised to be a fierce battle on the pitch, took an unexpected turn as Algerian authorities seized the RS Berkane jerseys upon their arrival in the country.

The decision stemmed from the depiction of Western Sahara on the jerseys, a region embroiled in a longstanding territorial dispute between Morocco and Algeria.

In response to the escalating controversy, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) intervened, ultimately ruling in favor of RS Berkane.

The verdict, delivered on Wednesday, saw USM Alger handed a 3-0 forfeit loss for the match, with potential further sanctions pending review by the Disciplinary Jury.

The saga ignited widespread debate and scrutiny, prompting CAF to convene the Committee for the Organization of Interclub Competitions and the Management of the Club Licensing System for deliberation.

Following careful consideration, CAF upheld RS Berkane’s claim, underscoring the significance of fair play and adherence to competition regulations.

Despite the tumultuous circumstances, CAF affirmed that the return match between RS Berkane and USM Alger would proceed as scheduled at the Municipal Stadium of Berkane on April 28, 2024.

However, with a three-goal handicap imposed on USM Alger, the stakes have been significantly raised for the Algerian side.

The unprecedented turn of events serves as a reminder of the complexities inherent in international sporting competitions, where geopolitical sensitivities can intersect with the spirit of fair play.

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As RS Berkane celebrates a victory secured off the field, both teams now brace themselves for a fiercely contested showdown on the pitch, with the outcome poised to reverberate far beyond the realm of football.

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