Moroccan Soccer Team Wins Match by Forfeit After Dispute Over Image on Jerseys

Sep 14, 2014; Marrakech, MOROCCO; Moroccan flags at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup.
Sep 14, 2014; Marrakech, MOROCCO; Moroccan flags at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

RS Berkane—a soccer team based in Berkane, Morocco—has been awarded a victory in highly unusual fashion.

The team was ruled a 3–0 winner Thursday over USM Alger—a team from the suburbs of Algiers—in the CAF Confederation Cup, the African equivalent of the Europa League. The reasoning: Algerian officials confiscated RS Berkane's uniforms before kickoff.

The kits ruffled feathers in Algeria because they contained an outline of Morocco that included Western Sahara as part of the latter country. Algeria recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as Western Saraha's legitimate government; Algeria and Morocco have spent much of the postcolonial era hostile to one another and currently have no diplomatic relationship.

The forfeited game was the first leg of a two-legged semifinal; the second is scheduled to be played Sunday in Morocco.

USM Alger, one of Algeria's most celebrated clubs, won the CAF Confederation Cup over the Tanzanian club Young Africans in 2023.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.