The scandal revolved around unauthorised manipulation and sale of tickets meant for Moroccan fans at Qatar 2022 matches.
A prominent sports figure and a sports journalist were sentenced by Morocco’s Casablanca Injunction Court on Friday for a scandal involving FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tickets.
Both were found guilty of their roles in the manipulation and unauthorised distribution of tickets for the highly-anticipated semi-final match between Morocco and France at the Qatar-hosted FIFA World Cup, reports said.
RNI MP Mohamed El Haidaoui, President of Olympique Safi football club and member of the board of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) received a prison sentence of one and a half years and was ordered to pay a staggering fine of $202,804.
Similarly, sports journalist Adel El Omari, host of Morocco-based Radio Mars, was given a 10-month prison term as well as a substantial fine. The journalist’s legal team had initially requested a delay in the proceedings to properly prepare their defence, reports said.
Youssef Khalidi, part of Haidaoui’s legal team, clarified that “the defendants were heard in the file, as the court calculates that its chest was ample in this aspect.” He emphasised that “the formal payments were devoid of any complaints, as the FRMF did not file any complaints regarding the crime of fraud.”
“There is no complainant in the case,” Khalidi confirmed in a statement to Hespress, adding that “the president of Olympic Safi encouraged the national football team with his own money, along with his parliamentary friends.”
He went on to specify that “a complaint has been filed against the person who published the tape against Haidaoui without his consent, as well as without the permission of the relevant judicial bodies.”
The case originated in May of this year when Morocco’s National Brigade of Judicial Police forwarded the defendants to the public prosecutor at the Casablanca Court of Appeal. The investigation was initiated based on suspicions surrounding the “World Cup ticket scandal,” the report said.
The coined term involves the “mysterious disappearance” of a portion of the tickets allocated to Moroccan supporters for the semi-final game between the Atlas Lions and France.
These tickets were allegedly initially intended to be distributed at no cost to fans, with the aim of encouraging their participation in the event and boosting morale for the Moroccan national team.
The vanishing of tickets for the Morocco-France match on 14 December 2022 resulted in disturbances in Doha, leading to the cancellation of seven flights from Morocco to Qatar for Moroccan fans by Royal Air Maroc, reports said.