Moroccan World Cup fans have been left devastated after flights were cancelled ahead of the country’s semi-final against France, according to reports. Airline Royal Air Maroc has blamed the Qatari authorities over travel restrictions imposed left thousands of supporters unable to reach Doha.
Morocco have been supported by incredible numbers of fans at the World Cup. Their team has responded with a remarkable campaign and are the first African side to feature among the final four teams in the tournament’s history.
Royal Air Maroc – Morocco’s national airline – had to charter 30 special aircrafts between Casablanca and Doha to supply the demand of fans wanting to be in the Middle East country for the most important football game in their history. However, only seven of those planes have ended up making the journey.
RAM has blamed the Qatari authorities for imposing strict travel restrictions on fans coming into the country. In a statement, it said: “Following the latest restrictions imposed by the Qatari authorities, Royal Air Maroc regrets to inform its customers of the cancellation of their flights operated by Qatar Airways.”
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AFP claim that around 2,100 passengers have been affected by the chaos. Some Morocco fans in Qatar have claimed that they had not been given their free tickets by the country’s Football Association.
The Moroccan FA was supposed to have given away as many as 13,000 free tickets to fans wanting to attend the semi-final. Many of those have not been received by expectant supporters, while the 30 flights have been massively reduced.
Moroccan fans have taken over Qatar during the World Cup. There are 45,000 expected to attend the game at Al-Bayt on Wednesday evening, dwarfing the number of their French counterparts in the 68,000-seater arena.
Wahid Regragui’s side have enjoyed a fantastic run at the tournament, and it would be a shame if many of their fans could not be in the country for their semi-final against tournament favourites France. They have already knocked out Spain and Portugal on their way to the final four.
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On Tuesday, Regragui – who 12 months ago sat in a masterclass led by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta – hit out at harsh critics of his team’s conservative approach to their games. “We’re going to play like we know how,” the 47-year-old, who has only been in charge for just over 100 days, said.
“Possession is extraordinarily misleading – you can have 70 per-cent possession and you only shoot twice.
“There’s expected goals too: ‘We should have won, we had four expected goals!’ We’re here to win, that’s all.”