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USM Algiers suffers setback as CAF upholds Berkane’s victory

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has delivered its verdict on the contentious issue surrounding the CAF Cup semi-final clash between RS Berkane and USM Alger, reaffirming the decision to award Berkane a 3-0 victory following the cancellation of the return leg. In a statement released on Thursday, CAF upheld its initial ruling, signaling a setback for USM Algiers in their bid for redemption.

Echoing the outcome of the first leg, CAF sanctioned USM Algiers for their failure to participate in the scheduled fixture, citing violations of competition regulations.

The Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) disclosed the decision of CAF’s Committee for the organization of interclub competitions and club licensing, confirming Berkane’s advancement to the final.

In adherence to CAF’s directive, Berkane is set to face Egyptian powerhouse Zamalek in the CAF Cup final on May 12 at the Municipal Stadium in Berkane, with the return leg scheduled for May 19 in Cairo.

The ruling also entails the submission of the match dossier to the Disciplinary Commission for further scrutiny, potentially leading to additional disciplinary measures.

The controversy surrounding the fixture stems from USM Alger’s objection to Berkane’s jersey, which featured a map of Morocco including Western Sahara, a region claimed by both Morocco and Algeria.

The Algerian club’s protest resulted in the confiscation of Berkane’s jersey during the first leg, prompting CAF to impose a 3-0 defeat on USM Alger.

In response to the adverse ruling, USM Alger and the Algerian Football Federation (FAF) have initiated legal proceedings, lodging an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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The appeal challenges CAF’s decision and contests the perceived political connotations of Berkane’s jersey.

While the matter remains under CAS jurisdiction, prospects of overturning CAF’s verdict appear uncertain, with the final outcome resting in the hands of the Swiss-based arbitration body.

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