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World Cup: Moroccan fans stranded in Qatar without promised tickets

World Cup: Moroccan fans stranded in Qatar without promised tickets
Moroccan fans heading to Qatar to support their team queue up in Casablanca airport after ...   -  
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The Moroccan national airline cancelled Wednesday flights scheduled between Casablanca and Doha for fans wishing to attend the World Cup semi-final between Morocco and France after others who had already arrived in Qatar were unable to obtain promised tickets for the match.

The seven cancelled flights impact "2,100 passengers. The 23 other flights operated by RAM are still maintained," a source close to the case told AFP.

The RAM had announced Monday to operate 30 special flights Tuesday and Wednesday between Casablanca and Doha to bring supporters for the semi-final.

In Doha, Moroccan fans who arrived on board the first flights of this airlift and met by AFP late Tuesday afternoon explained that the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) had promised them tickets which they did not receive.

Videos posted Wednesday on social networks show groups of Moroccan fans blocked by Qatari police at Hamad airport.

- Fans account -

According to accounts on Twitter, these fans refused to leave the airport until they had tickets for the semi-final.

"We decided to travel last night after RAM decided to offer (air) tickets at the symbolic price of 5,500 dirhams (EUR 450)," Amjad Larbi, 25, who travelled without a ticket to the match, told AFP.

Anas Kolfa, 31, who arrived in Doha on Tuesday, was able to get the precious sesame for free late in the evening from the FRMF, which had bought tickets from FIFA, according to him.

Mourad Louerad, 21, did not get a ticket.

"I flew because we were told that tickets were available at Doha airport," he confirmed to AFP.

"We were promised in Morocco that they would be distributed at the airport to people arriving on RAM flights. Afterwards, we were asked to go to al-Janoub stadium but we found nothing," he said.

- "Black market" -

According to another fan, Amine Farid, a 31-year-old computer scientist, "the big problem is the black market ... Tickets are sold four or five times their price."

Others denounced the clientelism and favouritism of federation officials who "give tickets to their friends and acquaintances".

The FRMF could not be reached.

A message calling on fans "not to go to the two airports (in Doha) until they have obtained tickets for the matches" was posted Wednesday morning on the Twitter account of Hamad International Airport, where flights from Casablanca arrive.

"We remind fans that Hamad International Airport and Doha Airport are not official sites for obtaining tickets for World Cup matches," the message also specified.

In the afternoon, the Hamad airport was quiet, some Moroccan fans disembarked with their Hayya card, acting as an entry visa, some with tickets, others without tickets but hoping to find some.

Contacted by the AFP, the Qatari authorities did not give a continuation.

On the eve of the semi-final, the committee in charge of the security of the tournament reminded on Twitter that "fans without tickets will not be allowed in the enclosure and around the stadiums" and that all the tickets "scanned (at the entrance, editor's note) are registered and can not be reused to access the stadium.

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