Morocco will not take part in the 2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN) being held in Algeria, the Moroccan football federation said on Thursday.
This was after the Algerian government rejected Morocco’s request for the team to fly there directly on Morocco’s national airline.
Algeria closed its airspace to Moroccan aircraft in 2021 after it unilaterally severed diplomatic ties with its North African neighbour.
Morocco are the current title-holders of CHAN, which is for players under the age of 23 who still play in African countries.
The tournament starts on Friday and finishes on Feb. 4.
The football authorities in Rabat had written to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to say Morocco would only take part if its team could take a direct flight to Algeria with Royal Air Maroc.
Morocco’s senior national team last month became the first from an African country to reach the World Cup semi-finals, raising the global profile of Moroccan football.
Algeria and Morocco are at odds over a range of issues, including the future of Western Sahara, a territory Morocco regards as its own but where Algeria backs an armed independence movement.(Reuters/NAN)