USM Alger v RS Berkane: CAS panel meets over controversial shirt row in CAF Confederation Cup

Algerian side USM Alger and FAF have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over RS ​​Berkane’s shirt with the disputed card.

USM Alger and the Algerian Football Federation (FAF) are now pinning their hopes on a legal battle at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the heated controversy surrounding RS Berkane’s football shirt escalated.

The shirt, featuring an extensive map of Morocco that includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara, was at the center of a significant dispute that affected the outcome of the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals.

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The tension has led to both legs of the semi-final between USM Alger and RS Berkane being cancelled, with Berkane insisting on wearing the controversial kit.

The decision came despite Algerian customs officials confiscating Berkane’s equipment upon arrival last month due to the card’s political implications. The Moroccan squad refused to play without their official jerseys, leading to a no-show that resulted in a default 3–0 win awarded to Berkane by a CAF panel.

The situation took a new turn when Berkane would advance to the final with a 6-0 aggregate scoreless in the semi-final.

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The scenario has led to further calls from USM Alger and FAF to CAS, seeking not only a resolution to the semi-final dispute, but also a re-evaluation of the permission previously granted by CAF to Berkane to wear the disputed shirts .

In their appeal, USM Alger and FAF have asked CAS to annul the decision that allowed Berkane to wear the controversial shirts, claiming the kit is “contrary to the laws of the game, the CAF rules and the FIFA rules “, which prohibit any political statement in this area. sports equipment.

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CAS responded by starting the process of forming an arbitral panel.

“An arbitral panel will be appointed. Once constituted, the arbitration panel will provide instructions for the next stage of the proceedings, including the holding of a hearing.” stated a release on the CAS website. It was also noted that “the Parties are currently exchanging written comments,” but no specific timeline has been set for when the case will be heard.

This legal battle takes place against the backdrop of long-standing tensions between Algeria and Morocco, mainly due to the unresolved status of Western Sahara. The area was annexed by Morocco in 1975, leading to decades of conflict and strained diplomatic relations, including the closure of the nearly 2,000 km border between the two countries.

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The Confederation Cup final is fast approaching, scheduled over two legs on May 12 and 19, with Egyptian giants Zamalek awaiting the outcome of the CAS proceedings.

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