FIFA are allegedly trying to stop footage of Achraf Hakimi’s confrontation with president Gianni Infantino from surfacing.
Hakimi’s Morocco were beaten 2-1 by Croatia in the third-place playoff on Saturday to end their memorable tournament in Qatar.
The Moroccans became the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals but fell short in their bid to claim the bronze medal, and Hakimi wasn’t happy.
The Paris Saint-Germain star confronted officials after a game in which he thought a number of decisions went against his side.
And according to beIN SPORTS’ Carrie Brown, the full-back vented his frustration at Infantino as the president was preparing to hand out medals to the Croatia players.
Brown tweeted: ‘Hakimi was speaking to FIFA officials as he came off the pitch and into the tunnel. Then approached Infantino and pleaded with him about the refereeing. Politely, desperately. Teammates walked him away.’
As per NOS, TV presenter Tom Egbers said: “He [Hakimi] stood in front of Infantino, less than five centimetres.
“With a raised voice, he ranted to Infantino about the referee. It was painful.”
And FIFA, clearly concerned over how the altercation might look, reportedly want the footage erased.
SVT reporter Johan Kucukaslan said: “They wanted us to delete the images. It is clear that these are embarrassing scenes for them, and it is a bit naive of them to think that a dozen journalists should not report on this when we witness it happening.”
Asked about the incident afterwards, Hakimi insisted Infantino “is my friend” and apologised.
He said: “Nothing happened. I was angry after the confrontation. I went to talk to him (Gianni Infantino) . I apologize for the words I addressed to him. Infantino is my friend and I respect him a lot, and nothing happened.”
Morocco Head coach Walid Regragui said he would not have changed a thing about Morocco’s history-making campaign which ended in defeat at Khalifa International Stadium.
“We had 0.01 percent of winning this tournament at the beginning, we got to the semi-final of the World Cup, we played some of the football powerhouses,” he said.
“We are now one of the top four teams in the world, if you told me we were going to finish that far and that Morocco would be number four in the world I would have accepted that straight away, there is nothing I would change.
“Tomorrow morning we will take stock and realise we have made a fantastic achievement here. We have had the opposition – playing Croatia twice, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Canada – that is wonderful that we have put in some great performances.
“Of course we are disappointed but when we wake up tomorrow we will realise what we have achieved, it was one step too far for us to win third place.”
READ MORE: If you’re going to have a World Cup third-place play-off then at least make it like this, we suppose