A Moroccan parliamentarian and a journalist were sentenced on August 12 over ticket fraud for tickets for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Mohamed El Hidaoui, a member of parliament and football club owner, was sentenced to 18 months in jail by a Casablanca court, his lawyer stated, according to AFP, August 13.
Mr Hidaoui is a member of Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch‘s National Rally of Independents party as well as being the president of Botalo Pro League (the Moroccan first division) club Olympique Club de Safi.
The tickets were sold to Moroccans eager to attend their country’s World Cup matches in Qatar.
He has been in custody since July 26, and was also fined 2,000 dirhams (190 euros), said Mohamed Ben Malek, his lawyer. Ben Malek added that he intends to appeal the sentence.
“I continue to affirm the innocence of my client who has not committed any crime,” the lawyer said. “I do not know why he has been put on trial.”
Radio sports journalist Adil El Omari was sentenced in the same case to 10 months in jail and fined 1,000 dirhams (95 euros), Mr. Ben Malek noted.
Adil El Omari has been released on bail.
Both individuals were accused of illegally reselling tickets as it has been alleged that the tickets sold on the black market were at up to five times their face value.
The Moroccan Football Federation promised Morocco fans free tickets as supporters travelled to the Middle Eastern country in high numbers.
Morocco shocked the football world by reaching the competition’s semifinals last year. Their spectacular World Cup campaign ended as they lost 2-0 to the French in the semis.