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African Nations Championship

Chan 2023: With Libya the latest to threaten a boycott, will anyone turn up?

3:05 AM MYT 03/01/2023
Morocco after winning the 2020 Chan tournament.
The fate of the 2023 African Nations Championships continues to be put in doubt after Libya became the latest nation to threaten a boycott.
  • Libya puts Chan 2023 in doubt by threatening to withdraw
  • The country’s federation is protesting against court cases locally
  • Morocco has also threatened a boycott while Uganda made a U-turn

WHAT HAPPENED? Libya Football Federation (LFF) has been protesting against directives issued by local courts, including temporarily suspending their accounts, which they feel goes against Caf and Fifa rules and they have now threatened to withdraw from the tournament if the impasse is not resolved.

With the cases still pending before the ordinary courts, and no final rulings issued, LFF says it will not be in a position to prepare and take the team to Algeria for the tournament slated for January 13-February 4.

This comes less than a week after Moroccan also threatened to withdraw from the tournament over diplomatic tensions with host country Algeria while Uganda made a dramatic U-turn last month, having ‘pulled out’ due to financial constraints.

Morocco and Algeria severed diplomatic ties in 2021, after which the latter closed its airspace, but the former has insisted the Atlas Lions will only participate if they are allowed to fly in directly from Rabat by Royal Air Maroc, eliciting a standoff.

WHAT DID THEY SAY? "There are cases filed against the LFF in courts in violation of the rules and regulations of the LFF and the African and international football federations, which prohibit resorting to ordinary courts in sports disputes," LFF said in a statement.

"We are now in the process of preparing to participate in a continental championship, and our team is in a training camp in Tunisia.”

“We may have to withdraw if the capabilities are not available. The federation also has obligations with the foreign coach and his technical staff, who are bound by contracts and salaries to be paid on time."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Libya, who are in Group A alongside Algeria, Ethiopia and Mozambique, have been rocked by a number of cases against the federation locally with its operations halted while Morocco, who are in Group C with Sudan, Madagascar and Ghana are still awaiting a reply from the hosts on whether their demands will be met.

Morocco, who defeated Mali in the delayed tournament in Cameroon in 2021 to become the first nation to win consecutive Chan titles, will be represented by their U23 side in the competition reserved for players who participate in Africa’s domestic leagues.

Meanwhile, Uganda, who are in a tough Group with DR Congo, Ivory Coast and Senegal, are set to participate after the government released funds following threats by the local federation that they will boycott the biennial tournament if the Ministry of Sports did not support the team financially.

WHAT’S NEXT? With no indication on when the standoffs involving Libya and Morocco will end, the two nations could end up missing the tournament, making Caf’s work difficult while also drawing sanctions from the African football governing body.