Rabat - A last-minute decision by the United Arab Emirates’ Football Association (UAEFA) to cancel a match against the Moroccan national team has been explained by media as evidence of a Morocco-UAE tension over the Qatar crisis.
Rabat – A last-minute decision by the United Arab Emirates’ Football Association (UAEFA) to cancel a match against the Moroccan national team has been explained by media as evidence of a Morocco-UAE tension over the Qatar crisis.
Moroccan media outlets began to offer their speculations after the UAEFA backed out from its agreement with the Moroccan Royal Federation (FRMF) to hold a friendly game between the two countries’ national teams on October 10.
The UAEFA reportedly gave as an excuse the fact that no coach has been appointed yet to the UAE national team, after the Argentinian manager Edgardo Bauza left earlier in September to head the Saudi team for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
However, Egyptian media reported on Tuesday that its national team had received a proposal from UAEFA to hold a friendly game in November.
The choice of Egypt over Morocco seems to have been driven by political motivation, especially as the UEAFA and the FRMF had an initial agreement that the two countries’ national squads meet first in a friendly game.
Egypt is one of the four Arab countries, along with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, which announced in early June that they would sever relations with Qatar over allegations of terrorism support.
Morocco, having historically close relations with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, chose to remain neutral. Rabat also sought alleviating the tension in the region by mediating between the warring Gulf nations.
The speculations about the cancelled match are strengthened by another incident. In July, an announcement was made that the third Morocco-UAE Friendship Cup, a game between the title holders from both league and hosted alternatively between the two countries, would be postponed.
This year, the cup was due to be held on August 13 in Morocco between the local team Wydad of Casablanca and UAE’s Al Jazeera. To date, the game has not been held and no new date has been provided.