Moroccan club president held in World Cup ticket scam

AFP , Wednesday 26 Jul 2023

The president of a Moroccan football club was taken into custody on Wednesday in connection with a ticket scandal involving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a judicial source told AFP.

Mohamed Hidaoui
File Photo: Mohamed Hidaoui, the president of Olympique Club de Safi. Photo courtesy of Olympique Club de Safi.


Mohamed Hidaoui, the president of Olympique Club de Safi, a first division team, is accused of "attempted fraud and selling tickets at too high a price", according to the source.

Hidaoui, a member of parliament for the National Rally of Independents (RNI), the party of prime minister Aziz Akhannouch, was remanded in custody by a public prosecutor in Casablanca.

A radio sports journalist is being prosecuted for the same offences, but has been released, the judicial source added.

The case caused quite a stir when -- at the height of the Atlas Lions' epic journey in Qatar -- many fans who had travelled to Doha found themselves deprived of free tickets promised by the Moroccan Football Federation.

The tickets were sold on the black market at four or five times their face value, according to accounts gathered at the time by AFP.

In the face of widespread indignation, the Moroccan authorities pledged to punish those responsible. The two suspects were questioned by the judicial police at the beginning of May as part of the investigation.

The emotion caused by the scam was all the greater because Morocco had reached the semi-finals of the World Cup against France, a historic achievement for an African and Arab team.

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