Rabat – Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) has refuted allegations that it granted free tickets to 50 Moroccan parliamentarians to travel to Russia to support the Atlas Lions in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Moroccan federation issued a statement on Sunday, saying that, “FRMF categorically denies these allegations and denounces vigorously the content of this article.”
Moroccan news outlet Hespress claimed on Sunday that 50 members of Parliament were granted free tickets and hotel stays to support the Moroccan football team in Russia at the expense of the state and taxpayers.
The news source added that the alleged generous offer resulted in a “war” between the parliamentarians a few days before the World Cup.
The news report sparked an uproar on social media as many internet users criticized the government and FRMF.
In response, FRMF said that this information “is completely unfounded,” emphasizing that the federation has only invited the Moroccan family members of football players.
The football association also invited news outlets to “check the accuracy of this kind of information that undermines the image of Moroccan football and its leaders.”
The Moroccan leading political party, Justice and Development Party (PJD), also denounced the rumors through a statement published on Sunday.
The party President said to the House of Representatives that none of his members traveled to Russia at the expense of the state.
He said that he did not receive any offer, emphasizing that members of his party “cannot accept any such offers at the expense of public funds.”
More than 27,000 Moroccans traveled to Russia to cheer on their football team throughout the first round of the 2018 World Cup. Several celebrities, including journalist Meriem Said and Moroccan singers Hatim Ammor and Zouhair Bahaoui, were also in attendance.
Morocco will play its second 2018 World Cup game against Portugal on June 20. The team lost their first match against Iran after Moroccan footballer Aziz Bouhaddouz scored on his own goal.