From Phil Caplan, RLEF

The intervention of MEP Brian Simpson helped to prevent a major incident after the touring Lebanon Espoirs were prevented from entering the Berrechid municipal stadium to play a Morocco XIII.

The Moroccan rugby league – which Remond Safi, the Rugby League European Federation’s MENA Regional Director, has been heavily involved in forming over the past 18 months – were informed at 5.30pm the day before the scheduled match that permission to use the ground had been rescinded.

Directeur des Sports Saïd Boukhari issued the order to the Basha of Berrechid province, Ahmed Akerdousse and local sports ministry representative Ahmed Bamou.

The following day a Moroccan rugby league delegation consisting of association president Mostafa Jedoual, the presidents of the Arrabiata and Guelmin clubs, MRL secretary Driss Aamoud as well as Safi visited the sports ministry where, despite initial obstructions, they were granted a hearing from Boukhari, Samer Haama, the Manager of Higher Level Sports, Mohamed Moutach, National Teams Administration Manager, Mr El Raji, Manager of National Teams, and Mr El Hauji, the President of General Sports.

Safi duly explained the need for an independent rugby league federation before matters intriguingly took a further twist when a phone call from Simpson to Boukhari seemingly prompted an immediate softening in attitudes and sudden permission to allow the game to go ahead – only using the local club name rather than the kingdom’s.

“Despite all the political events that took place it was good to see the Moroccans and Lebanese uniting for their right to play rugby league,” said Safi. “It was clear to me that there was a hidden agenda behind the Moroccan government’s actions.”

The Moroccan clubs have been invited back to Rabat to discuss rugby league’s official status, with the government apparently unaware that separate rugby federations are commonplace throughout the world. The RLEF and European Parliament will support the bid to obtain an independent federation.

The training match finally went ahead, in the presence of Berrechid council vice president Ziad el Kahr and other officials. The Moroccan team, comprised of players selected from Berrechid, Berrechid Lions, Arrabiata and Rabatohs RLFC, performed admirably, scoring four tries to the Espoir’s six.

“It was remarkable to see their improvement from a year ago,” Safi commented. “There has been a lot of activity in forming new clubs and in the preparation of players; we can see the new breed emerging as the first generation of born and bred Moroccan rugby league players.“

Earlier in the week Safi held meetings with representatives of the six clubs and observed the signing of a constitution and the election of the new board.


Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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  1. Mick says:

    Why do rugby league always play the victim? Its clear that someone didn’t do their paperwork and go through the right steps to register but instead we always blame the rugby union run government of just about any country. How are we going to move on in this world if we keep play the victim?

    • druzik says:

      Well that seems to be what is read between the lines… but I am hearing bit here and there it was Union’s hand involved.

      The thing is, Union gets blamed a lot, well because Union does do a lot of interfering when it does not need to. I have seen it over and over again in Europe on many occasions.

      Not to say there aren’t cases where League just stuffs things up as well, there are many cases in that. USA and Italy’s split being a case in point.

      I know in this case everything was done by the books by the Moroccans.

  2. Mick says:

    The whole Moroccan rugby union board were in Madagascar as guest of the IRB to support their team in a world cup qualifier. None of them have any knowledge of what is going on with Moroccan rugby league and the government but they said they also had to go through the same process to get excepted by the government and it took them ages.
    Its a shame that rugby league is now playing the victim first and everything else second.

    • druzik says:

      I never said it was the Union board. There are other elements that could be involved… and you really think that Union in Morocco have no idea that League is being played.

      The question is… what was it all OK right up to the day before the game, if there were issues as you claim with applications, why wasn’t it brought up sooner?

      As I said before, Union getting the pointed finger often only has itself to blame because they simply have interfered with league in so many countries. If they didn’t and don’t then we’ll leave them alone.

      On that note the case is closed…. discussion about the game and the work of Moroccan RL. I don’t want to continually harp on about Union.

  3. Mick says:

    You have not mention who to blame in Morocco but as most league fans on leagueunlimited forum where your a member now blame rugby union.
    So rugby league use rugby union grounds, resourses and most important players in most countries where both game are play and your complaining. Your anti rugby union mentality goes against the thousands and thousands of rugby union players who are playing league in the off-season.

    • druzik says:

      Get over it Mick.

      Its not anti-union mentality as you put it. I know that many players play both I have many friends that play both. You need to get over your inferiority complex. The fact is that often Rugby union admins do get involved… its not a comment on the players… I have all the respect for them that do it. but on the main side there is still a lot of anti-league sentiment all around the world in union… its just the way it is. We have to deal with it.

      Having said that, the nations where League is using Union grounds is not the issue, usually that means they get along. Its where you don’t get that level of cooperation (which is many places) where it doe not happen. In most countries League does not use Union grounds, because Union does not let them… we don’t use their resources… we can’t otherwise league would not have support from its governing federations.

      There is no anti-Union mentality, but the reality is that Union in the past and present still interferes where it shouldn’t… any anti union sentiment is because of what it has done in the past, it has itself to blame for that… and if it is Union getting involved and causing trouble, then why shouldn’t it be said as much if that is the truth… you rather the truth be swept under the carpet?

      This is the last on the topic till we all know more on what went on in Morocco.

  4. q8tkev says:

    Did Libon even play with a full team. The squad list only has 11 names and I just saw some photos of the teams lining up and sure enough only 11 guys in Libon Espoir strip??

    Have to say judging by the size difference 11 beefy Lebanese league players probably could compete with the 17 lean Moroccans.

  5. q8tkev says:

    There was a gallery on the Moroccan Rugby League page on Facebook, just struggling to find it now

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