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Supported from the outset by the Moroccan Footballers' Association (AMF), whose President is Mustapha El Haddaoui, fourteen players for MA Tetouan who have not been paid their wages for more than three months have decided as a last resort to write to King Mohammed VI of Morocco, seeking his assistance in asserting their legitimate rights.

 

AMF President Mustapha El Haddaoui is still furious. It's true that the story of these players for Maghreb Athletic of Tetouan, which came eighth in the last Moroccan championship, is symptomatic of practices that we had thought definitively forgotten since the professionalization of football in Morocco entered into its active phase.

 

In spite of strong support from the AMF, fourteen players for MA Tetouan have been left unpaid for more than three months. Worse still, when they claimed what they were due, the management, using insidious methods, imposed fines on them while preventing them from training for more than a month.

 

'This is totally unreal', rages the former star of the Lions of the Atlas. 'Not only are these boys not paid, not only are several of them still waiting for the signing-up bonuses they were promised contractually, but now four of them have been penalized with fines of 30,000, 40,000, and even 50,000 euros. These sums bear no relation to their income, it goes without saying. How can people still be acting in this way?

 

'How can players be treated this way, at the sole whim of a chairman who thought the club and its employees were his toys? The man has now left the club, but the evil is profound and the wounds gaping. And it was moreover the new provisional management of the club that suspended the players and imposed financial penalties on them.'

 

'Our various attempts to mediate have not succeeded, but we won't let the matter drop. Not until this business, which takes us back to the age of slavery, has been resolved, and the players, as required by the law, the regulations, respect for contracts and the rights of employees, or even plain good sense, have won the day. Not until then!'

 

The players, united and mobilized, have also decided to go right to the end, and initially wrote to the Royal Federation of Morocco seeking respect for their contracts and the cancellation of the fines. At the moment, that authority has launched an investigation to try to understand a matter that the departing chairman did his best to make totally obscure.

 

But the fourteen footballers, abused and cheated, have gone further still. As a last resort, and while awaiting the results of the Federation's investigation, they have decided to put their faith in King Mohammed VI. They have sent the Moroccan sovereign a letter in which they explain their situation, and they have no doubts today about the outcome of their affair.

 

'You have to understand that addressing the King directly is not a trivial matter for us. But it's necessary to understand the players, and to hope that the strong signal that we do not doubt will be sent from the Palace will discourage those who don't want to honour signed contracts in the future. If by chance the lesson is not learned, those people will always have the AMF on their backs in any case', concluded Mustapha El Haddaoui.

 

 

 

At Casablanca, Theo van Seggelen (FIFPro Secretary-General) and Stéphane Burchkalter (Division Africa Secretary-General) testified to their support for the players of MA Tetouan, as did all of the players' associations present.

 

 

 

Photo above
The captain of MA Tetouan, Hicham El Amrani (here with Najib Melhi and Mustapha El Haddaoui), was a guest at the Congress of FIFPro Division Africa held in Casablanca
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