12 Jul 2012

The fledgling Moroccan rugby league organisation, the Federation Marocaine de Rugby League, has issued a strong statement in response to the events of last week, when their Ministry of Youth and Sport in Rabat waited until the last moment before banning a long-scheduled match between a Moroccan rugby league selection and the visiting Lebanon Under-20s, or Liban Espoir.

FMRL president Mostafa Jedoual, who was elected by the members to his post following the ratification of the new constitution last week, said: “On behalf of the Moroccan Federation of Rugby League we very strongly denounce the arbitrary decision that the sports ministry had taken against us and we consider the independence of rugby league an obligatory matter. It is evident that the ministry forbade us to play the first match.”

Intervention from the European Parliament, through MEP Brian Simpson, ensured the match - permission for which had been submitted four-months earlier - took place, but suspicions abound over the government’s seemingly calculated actions.

“It was a remarkable and historic day,” continued Jedoual, who has been ploughing almost a lone furrow for Moroccan rugby league for many years. “Despite all the hard decisions against rugby league in general and our federation especially, I can say that our efforts over the past year have not been lost.”

Pictured: Members of the FMRL general assembly, including president Mostafa Jedoual (front row, fourth from the left).