Despite their loss, fans of the Atlas Lions continued to celebrate Morocco for its historic performance and the values it taught the world.
Morocco’s Football Federation (FRMF) has lodged an official complaint to FIFA over apparent unfair refereeing at its major semi-final game against France on Wednesday.
In a statement, the FRMF said it “strongly protested” the refereeing led by Mexico’s Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos.
“This came in a letter to the competent authority, which included arbitration cases that deprived the Moroccan team of two clear penalties, according to the testimony of specialists in arbitration,” FRMF’s statement read.
The Moroccan body also sent a letter to The Athletic, in which it described the refereeing as “grotesque”.
Morocco made history during the 2022 FIFA World Cup as the first ever African, Arab state to reach the semi-finals. Coincidentally, the historic moment took place in Qatar, the first Arab, Muslim state to host the major sporting event.
Crowds all over the world went all red on Wednesday in support of the Atlas Lions in hopes of seeing the Moroccan team play the final match against Argentina. However, hopes were crushed when France won with a 2-0 score.
Despite their defeat, Morocco’s fans were quick to stand in solidarity with the team, uniting in their praise of their spectacular performance throughout the major tournament.
The FRMF told The Athletic that Palazuelos had denied the Moroccan team two penalties in the first half of the game.
“The FRMF has filed an official protest to FIFA regarding the grotesque refereeing of the France-Morocco match, especially following the two penalties not whistled for Morocco in the first half,” the federation said.
Meanwhile on their website, the FRMF stressed that it “will not hesitate to defend” its rights while “demanding fairness”.
FIFA has yet to comment on the complaint filed by the Moroccan federation with only two days left until the World Cup comes to an end.
Morocco is facing Croatia on Saturday for the third-place match, followed by the final game between France and Argentina.
People from all over the world highlighted crucial values that the Moroccan team has taught fans, noting that the Atlas Lions have “won people’s hearts.”
Fans from the African and Arab region who spoke to Doha News following Morocco’s loss commonly expressed their pride in the team in successfully representing the two areas at the world stage.
“We are so proud of their performance, they honoured all Arabs in the world,” one fan told Doha News.
Another said that Morocco is the reason why he is now proud of travelling around the world and saying loud and proud that he is Arab.
Morocco also gave the Muslim world the chance to stand united in protesting the endemic Islamophobia, particularly in France with the presence of President Emmanuel Macron.
The Al Bayt Stadium was shaking with the chants of tens of thousands with proclamation of faith, or Shahada, which translates to,”There is no God but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Support for Prophet Muhammad was also heard throughout the game in scenes that were never seen before at any other World Cup. Fans had previously decided to collectively showing love to Islam and its prophet in Macron’s presence, whose country continuously faces scrutiny for its Islamophobic policies.
The core Islamic value of being dutiful to parents was also highlighted, with Moroccan players immediately rushing to their mothers to celebrate their victories. Players were even seen jumping and dancing on the pitch, moments that sent goosebumps beyond the stadium.
Sportsmanship was a major theme that the Moroccan team maintained.