Morocco’s Fouzi Lekjaa Announces Candidacy for FIFA Board Member

FRMF President Fouzi Lekjaa.

Spread the love

Rabat – Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), declared on Wednesday his candidacy for the post of FIFA board member.

Lekjaa’s candidacy is the first of its kind from Morocco to FIFA, the FRMF announced on its website.

The FRMF added that Lekjaa’s candidacy comes in view of the next General Assembly of the African Football Confederation (CAF), scheduled for March 12 in Rabat.

Fouzi Lekjaa was born in Berkane, Morocco. In 2009, he became president of the city’s local club RS Berkane, now one of the top clubs in Africa. He has served as the FRMF president since 2014.

In this role, Lekjaa is known for his ambitious sports policy and efforts to improve the governance and economic conditions of Moroccan clubs. Under his leadership as FRMF president, Moroccan clubs have won several continental titles and the national team has improved, as well. 

A CAF vice-president and a member of the FIFA Governance Committee, Lekjaa holds several important positions in world and continental football bodies and commissions. 

Within CAF, Lekjaa is the president of the Finance Committee and the vice-president of the Organizing Committee for Inter-Club Competitions and of the Organizing Committee for Management of the CAF Club Licensing System. 

While Fouzi Lekjaa has earned himself a good reputation throughout his career, he faced a scandal in May 2019 when the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFE) filed a complaint against him. 

Fouzi Lekjaa’s 2019 controversy

EFE claimed that during the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup, when Moroccan football club RS Berkane lost to Egypt’s Al Zamalek, Lekjaa physically assaulted Ethiopian referee Bamalek Tessema. 

“After the game, during the medal ceremony, the third deputy president of CAF, president of Morocco Football Association and honorable president of RS Berkane FC, MR Fouzi Lekjaa, beat Bamalek Tessema with head butt with aggressive and forceful manner,” the EFE said in a statement after the May 26 match. 

The EFE also accused RS Berkane players of harassing the FIFA referee: “After players saw Fouzi Lekjaa in action they started to harass and kick him; fortunately, he was saved by security.”

After the match, Lekjaa condemned the referee’s judgment. FRMF also wrote a letter to CAF describing the referee’s performance as “scandalous” and “shameful.”

The FRMF said the match was muddled by “bad interpretation and application of the rules,” that the referee favored the Egyptian team, and that he ignored a rule that cost RS Berkane the penalty shootout.

Tessema also “allowed a player who should have been sent off to continue to play and influence the outcome of the match,” the FRMF argued. 

Rumors circulated that CAF suspended Lekjaa from all activities in response to the incident, which the FRMF quickly denied. 

After a series of appeals, in August 2019, the CAF Disciplinary Board announced its decision to not punish Fouzi Lekjaa over the incident.

“The Match Commissioner Gustavo Ndong Edu, indicated that some players and officials of RS Berkane confronted the referee and other match officials,” the report said. 

“The Disciplinary Board established ambiguities in the reports regarding the incident and the alleged culprit. Therefore, the Disciplinary Board decided that there is insufficient solid and corroborating evidence to prove the culpability of Fouzi Lekjaa.”