Raja Casablanca first Morocco football team to play in Palestinian territories

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Spectators watch a match between Palestinian team Hilal Al-Quds and Morocco's Raja Casablanca in the Arab Champions Cup at Faisal Husseini stadium in the town of Al-Ram, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. (AFP)
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Spectators hold a huge flag depicting Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque during a match between Palestinian team Hilal Al-Quds and Morocco's Raja Casablanca. (AFP)
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Players are seen in action during a match between Palestinian team Hilal Al-Quds (blue) and Morocco's Raja Casablanca in the Arab Champions Cup. (AFP)
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Spectators watch a match between Palestinian team Hilal Al-Quds and Morocco's Raja Casablanca in the Arab Champions Cup. (AFP)
Updated 03 October 2019

Raja Casablanca first Morocco football team to play in Palestinian territories

  • Visit comes after a decades-long Arab boycott of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians
  • 28 fans of the Raja Casablanca club were denied entry to the occupied West Bank

RAMALLAH: Raja Casablanca became the first Moroccan football team to play in the occupied Palestinian territories on Thursday.
But 28 fans of the club were denied entry to the occupied West Bank by "Israeli occupation forces", Morocco's MAP news agency said, quoting the country's embassy in Jordan.
Arab clubs and national teams have historically refused to play in the West Bank, where the Palestinian national team plays, as it required them to apply for Israeli entry permits.
This was seen as breaching a decades-long Arab boycott of the Jewish state over its treatment of the Palestinians.
But in recent years either clubs or national teams from Iraq, Jordan, the UAE and Bahrain have all visited.
Others, including Egypt and Lebanon, still refuse.
Thursday evening's match was eventually won by Raja Casablanca, who beat Palestinian team Hilal Al-Quds 2-0 in the Arab Champions Cup.
The Moroccan giants had won the first leg 1-0 at home, with the team's supporters waving Palestinian flags and chanting songs supportive of the cause.
But on Thursday night it was not about winning.
"We consider we are winners due to the presence of Raja Casablanca," Hilal Al-Quds's sporting director Badr Makki said before the game started.
"But that doesn't stop us hoping to win and progress."
The game was played at a stadium in Al-Ram, close to Jerusalem.
"We are delighted to be in Palestine to represent Morocco," Raja Casablanca's coach Patrice Carteron told a news conference late Wednesday.
The Facebook page of Raja supporters said the team was "making history by becoming the first North African club to set foot on the holy lands of Palestine".
Palestine was first recognised by FIFA in the late 1990s but the team and organisation have grown in recent years.


Federer tops list of world’s highest-paid athletes

Updated 35 min 26 sec ago

Federer tops list of world’s highest-paid athletes

  • The bulk of Federer’s haul in the past 12 months was from appearance fees and endorsement deals
  • Next on the list was Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo at $105 million, $60 million in salary

NEW YORK: Roger Federer topped the 2020 Forbes magazine list of highest-paid global athletes announced Friday, leading the lineup for the first time with pre-tax earnings of $106.3 million (95.5 million euros).
The Swiss tennis legend, a men’s record 20-time Grand Slam singles champion, becomes the first player from his sport atop the annual list since its 1990 debut, rising from fifth in 2019.
Federer’s haul over the past 12 months included $100 million from appearance fees and endorsement deals plus $6.3 million in prize money. His previous best showing was second in 2013.
“His brand is pristine, which is why those that can afford to align with him clamor to do so,” University of Southern California sports business professor David Carter told the magazine.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic that shut down sports worldwide caused the first decline since 2016 in the total income of the world’s 100 top-paid athletes, a 9% dip from last year to $3.6 billion. Another plunge is expected next year from the shutdown.
Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo was second on the list at $105 million, $60 million in salary and $45 million from endorsements, with Argentine football hero Lionel Messi third on $104 million, $32 million of that from sponsorship deals.
Messi and Ronaldo, who have traded the top spot three of the past four years, saw their combined incomes dip $28 million from last year due to salary cuts when European clubs halted play in March.
Brazilian footballer Neymar was fourth overall on $95.5 million, $25 million from endorsements, while NBA star LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers was fifth on $88.2 million, $60 million of that from endorsements.
NBA star Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was sixth on $74.4 million with former teammate Kevin Durant next on $63.9 million.
Tiger Woods, the reigning Masters champion and a 15-time major winner, was eighth on the list and tops among golfers at $62.3 million, all but $2.3 million from sponsor deals.
Woods topped the Forbes list a record 12 times before an infidelity scandal helped end his run.
Two NFL quarterbacks rounded out the top 10 with Kirk Cousins ninth at $60.5 million and Carson Wentz 10th on $59.1 million.
The top 100 featured athletes from 21 nations and 10 sports. More NBA players made the list than those from any other sport at 35, but 31 NFL players made the cut, up from 19 from last year, and they pulled down the most money of any league, aided by finishing the season before the deadly virus outbreak.
Major League Baseball, whose start to the 2020 campaign was postponed by the virus outbreak, put only one player on the list after 15 in 2019. The lone MLB player was Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who was 57th at $27.3 million with only $750,000 from endorsements.
Spanish footballer Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid captain, was last among the 100 on $21.8 million, including $3 million in endorsements.
Two women, tennis stars Naomi Osaka of Japan and Serena Williams of the United States, made the list, the most females on it since 2016. Osaka ranked 29th overall on $37.4 million ($34 million in endorsements), four spots ahead of Williams with $36 million ($32 million in endorsements).
Federer, 38, boasts the biggest sponsorship lineup among active athletes with Moet & Chandon and Barilla among those paying from $3 to $30 million to link him with their brands.
Federer, who spent a record 310 weeks as world number one, reached 18 of 19 Grand Slam finals from 2005-2010.
Only Woods has joined Federer in making $100 million in sponsor deals in a single year.
Federer’s newest deal is with Swiss running shoe On, where he is an investor, but several sponsors have been with him for more than a decade, including Rolex, Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz and Wilson.
A split with Nike in 2018 opened Federer to Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo’s 10-year deal worth $300 million.