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Morocco flights carrying football fans to Qatar canceled

December 14, 2022

Morocco's state-owned flag carrier said seven flights were canceled due to "restrictions imposed by Qatari authorities." It had announced 30 flights to support the team in the World Cup semifinals.

Moroccan fans heading to Qatar to support their team queue up in Casablanca airport after their flights were cancelled.
Seven of 30 flights planned to transport Moroccan fans to support their team in the World Cup semi finals have been canceledImage: AP Photo/picture alliance

Seven flights meant to transport Moroccan fans to Qatar to support their team in the historic semifinal game against France on Wednesday have been canceled at the last minute, the Moroccan state news agency said.

The agency cited the national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, saying the cancelation of the flights from Casablanca to Doha was due to "the latest restrictions imposed by the Qatari authorities."

No further elaboration on the restrictions was given.

Why were the flights planned?

On Monday, Royal Air Maroc, or RAM, announced 30 new flights on Tuesday and Wednesday to transport more football fans to Qatar. Morocco is facing off France on Wednesday at the World Cup semifinal, making it the first African and Arab nation to ever reach this stage.

The seven canceled flights would have been operated by the Qatar Airways.

 Morocco's supporters celebrate after their qualifies for the Qatar 2022 World Cup semifinals, in the capital Rabat, on December 10, 2022.
Morocco is the first African and Arab nation to ever reach this stage in the World CupImage: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Their cancelation impacted 2,100 passengers, an anonymous source told the French news agency AFP. The source confirmed, however, that the remaining 23 flights, all operated by RAM, were still planned.

Many fans had already arrived on board Tuesday's flights. Some said, however, that they had yet to receive their match tickets, though they were initially promised to receive them at the airport.

Earlier this month, Qatari authorities scrapped a requirement for arriving football fans to present their match tickets prior to entry.

What Morocco's success means for the Arab world

rmt/es (AFP, AP)