Morocco lodges appeal against ‘grotesque’ World Cup refereeing


The African team are angry at the circumstances of their exit

Morocco, who became the first ever African team to compete in the FIFA World Cup semifinals in Qatar, say that they may have gone one step further if it were not for the “grotesque” refereeing display from Cesar Ramos in their 2-0 defeat to France on Wednesday.

An early strike from Theo Hernandez and a second-half goal from Randal Kolo Muani secured France’s passage to their second consecutive World Cup final.

Morocco, who broke new ground by playing in the last four, are still more than aggrieved by the circumstances of their exit amid claims from the Morocco FA (FRMF) that they were denied two first-half penalties.

According to a statement supplied to The Athletic, “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.”

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It added that they “demand fairness” and “will not hesitate to defend the rights of our national team.”

Among the incidents cited by the FRMF are a supposed foul on forward Sofiane Boufal which was called as a foul against France defender Hernandez, as well as a challenge on Selim Amallah from French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni in first-half injury time – both of which Morocco claim should have resulted in spot-kicks.

The timing of Morocco’s appeal comes a day after an Instagram account allegedly operated by Ramos invited the FRMF to appeal his on-field decisions.

My friends, the Moroccan people, please, be patient, if you are not satisfied with the match, you can file a collective objection via the FIFA website and the match can be replayed,” the message on the social media platform read, after translation.

Ramos is among several referees whose performances have been questioned in Qatar.

Portuguese defender Pepe was critical of Argentine official Facundo Tello in the wake of his side’s quarterfinal loss to Morocco, while Lionel Messi was among several Argentina players to express their dismay at the officiating of Antonio Mateu Lahoz following their match with the Netherlands.

“We were scared before the game,” said Messi after beating the Dutch.

“I think FIFA must think about it, they cannot put a referee like that for these important games, for such a pivotal game, a referee who isn’t up to the task.”

Meanwhile, Morocco play Croatia in Saturday’s FIFA World Cup third-placed playoff match.

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