Let’s take a trip back in time. It’s 1980. Eurovision is 24 years old and has already born witness to 22 participating nations. Little did anyone think that Morocco, an Arabic-speaking, Muslim country in northwest Africa, would become number 23. However, the contest had actually been broadcast there for many years and was pretty popular amongst the general population.

https://youtu.be/cRSyYCKO1GE

They sent the young and very talented Samira Said with “Bitaqat Hub (Love Letter)”, a song written by one of the country’s biggest composers – Abd Al-‘Ati Amyna. Hopes were high as Samira delivered a stunning performance with flawless vocals. She also brought a wonderful message of peace and love — and wore an amazing Moroccan Takchita (a traditional garment worn for celebrations).

Despite the hype, Morocco finished second-to-last, saved only by 7 points from Italy. Meanwhile, the King of Eurovision, Johnny Logan, earned his first victory for Ireland.

Disappointed by the perceived injustice, Morocco never returned to the contest. But is the 1980 result, coupled with some wounded pride, the only barrier to a Moroccan comeback? Of coure not! Let’s have a look at some reasons why we shouldn’t expect to see the African kingdom at Eurovision anytime soon.

1. Israel

The most obvious reason is the presence of Israel. Morocco has never recognized its existence, and is a fervent supporter of Palestine in the ongoing conflict. As long as Israel takes part in the contest, the chances of seeing a Moroccan act on stage are practically null. In fact, Israel were absent when Morocco last participated. Once they announced their intention to return, Morocco withdrew. For the same reason, other Arab states such as Tunisia and the Lebanon are unlikely to appear either.

2. Budget

Considering many of Europe’s more affluent broadcasters complain about the contest’s high participation fee, with some even withdrawing as a result, Morocco will undoubtedly struggle to come up with the necessary cash. The country has three major channels, only one of which has full EBU membership – the state owned SNRT (Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision). SNRT’s main station is Al Aoula (The First in Arabic). It was Morocco’s first ever channel, but sadly times are tough. Viewing figures are low, and there’s no variety in a programme schedule comprising mostly of dated shows (sometimes cheap Moroccan sitcoms from the 80s and 90s), with the focus more on current affairs and sport.

The second broadcaster, 2MTV, was founded in 1989 and revolutionised Moroccan television, breaking taboos and offering a diverse range of programming. It is currently the most-watched station in the country. After struggling financially for many years, things seem to be slowly getting better for the broadcaster which recently aired local adaptations of international hits such as MasterChef and The Amazing Race. Initially private, the government now holds almost 70% of its share capital. 2MTV submitted an application to join the EBU in 2011, and still awaits approval. Between entry fees and funding for promotion, travel, etc, Moroccan participation in the contest seems impossible until the financial situation improves.

3. Public opinion

If a miracle happens and Morocco confirms Eurovision participation, what would the overall reaction be amongst the public? Mixed to negative is the answer. Most Moroccans know little to nothing about the contest. Since nearly everyone speaks French, they tend to watch a lot of French TV. So the few that are aware of the contest are heavily influenced by the French media… and we all know what the French think of Eurovision, right?

Others would argue that the contest is incompatible with Moroccan values and culture. A very small minority would actually be pleased. Efforts are ongoing to get closer to the European Union, and an appearance at Eurovision would be seen as a step towards Europe.

4. Suitable act/song

Moroccan artists are talented. There’s no doubt about that! They storm practically every talent show they enter… especially in the Arab world and France. Morocco possesses a lot of young performers, with big voices, good looks and great personalities – everything you need for Eurovision. What they lack is a suitable song. The country’s music industry is extremely underdeveloped — that’s why Moroccan artists often choose to settle abroad – Egypt, Lebanon or Europe — and start their careers there. That’s the main problem: there are no opportunities in Morocco! Actually the only successful genre of music (besides traditional music) in the country is rap and hip-hop music, which NEVER does well in the contest. Moroccan artists who have succeeded abroad include RedOne (producer), French Montana, Sofia Essaidi, Malika Ayane (SanRemo 2015), Tal, and of course, Samira Said.

5. Could they host?

Again, if a miracle happens and Morocco participates AND wins the contest, what would happen? Would Morocco host the contest… or the right question should be: could Morocco host the contest? The answer is complicated. The country loves hosting international events, mainly to showcase what it has to offer, and boost tourism (hey Azerbaijan!). Morocco recently hosted the FIFA Club World Cup 2013 and 2014, and they were generally recognised as doing a good job. It also hosts the annual Festival International du Film de Marrakech and Festival Mawazine in Rabat. Both attract international stars and media.

Samira Said Gif Morocco samira said gif 2 Samira Said Gif Morocco

Two main obstacles remain  – budget and location. The monetary issues faced by the broadcasters reflects the overall situation in the country. Hosting the contest would be just too much. Existing infrastructure would need to be either upgraded or created from scratch. As for location, there are simply no stadiums that match Eurovision standards. Of course, as a football-loving nation, Morocco possesses a lot of HUGE football stadiums, some of them can even hold 100,000 people (ask Rihanna). But the big problem is that none of them have roofs…

Despite all the above, there is still hope that one day THE miracle happens and we get to see a Moroccan act proudly representing the country. Actually, despite being largely disinterested in the contest, there was a moment when Moroccans did care. Can you guess? It was, of course, when Loreen won! She was all over the newspapers, the radio and even the TV. Presented as the Moroccan-Swede, or sometimes simply as the Moroccan Loreen Talhaoui. She even got invited to perform as the opening act for Enrique Iglesias at the international Mawazine Festival. The locals embraced her with open arms. There is hope!

So, do you think Morocco should come back to the contest? Let us know in the comments below.

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Chupacabra
Guest
Chupacabra

Morocco also would play soccer against Israel in a world championship. Hope they will return, as they have so many gifted musicians and artists.

2015
Guest
2015

With other words… Marocco is scared for Israel, end.
I mean… c’mone! Ukraine and Russia both participated in 2014, whats the big of a deal…. ”i hate you, so thats why i don’t join”. It only shows how stupid some countries can be. (don’t take this personal >>> broadcasters ect) I’m happy with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Russia and Israel in the contest! They all delivered atleast 1 great song.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

Yeah! Stop the violence, increase the peace 🙂
And it’s actually OK to write Natanya. The proper pronunciation is “netanYA” (stressing the YA) but everyone just says “naTANya” (stressing the TAN).

Iberian
Guest
Iberian

*Netanya, gosh, I ALWAYS get that wrong. 🙁

Iberian
Guest
Iberian

You’re amazing, Maya, you remembered I love (and I’m not ashamed of it) Sarit Hadad’s Light a Candle, didn’t you? So thank you very much for that link, what a great song and the video is so much fun. And wow – all you Israeli guys and girls are just way too attractive. No wonder everybody wants to go here (to Tel Aviv, or, well, I wouldn’t mind staying in Natanya…) Nadav was the best, you know I would say that, but it’s true, isn’t it? He should have won, but the result was okay. I remember quite some friends… Read more »

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

Hey Iberian! Nadav and his team exceeded my expectations, performance and result wise. A great show and a place in the top 10, how could I ask for more? Sorry about Edurne, she was really underrated. The point of not acknowledging Israel is part of a larger ongoing agenda of delegitimizing Israel very existence. We’re used to being unrecognized by some Arab countries (it is NOT the case with Morocco), but so far they’re missing out on the fun, not us, so what do I care. About 20% of Israelis are Arab so any Arab country that joins is likely… Read more »

Iberian
Guest
Iberian

Maya!!! Long time, no “see”. Are you happy with Nadav’s result? I would have LOVED to be at Tel Aviv’s Pride. And on subject: How annoying is that? To even think a country wouldn’t participate because of Israel. I don’t get it.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

@mawnck Yaniv is actually quite right, this article is inaccurate to say the least.
Morocco did have an embassy in Israel (which was closed in 2000 after the October Intifada), an still has connections with Israel where it come to trade and economy. Unlike Syria and Lebanon, Morocco does recognize Israel’s existence, Israelis can enter Morocco with an Israeli passport (and vice versa), which many Israelis do.
If the Moroccans ever wish to return to Eurovision, Israel’s presence there wouldn’t be an obstacle.

Yaniv
Guest
Yaniv

Who wrote this ? it is totaly false report – can’t you hire someone to write something base on the facts rather than what he thinks are the facts? Israel has nothing to do with the fact that Morocco doesn’t return. the fact stated in the article that Morocco doesn’t recognize the state of Israel is TOTALY false – Following the signing of Oslo treaty in 1993 Morocco accelerated its economic ties and political contacts with Israel and even opened mutual bilateral liaison offices ! as for today Morocco manage full diplomatic relations with Israel and also we have here… Read more »

Felix Prochain
Guest
Felix Prochain

Loreen is actually is of Berber origin not Moroccan.
Would be nice to have another culture at ESC.. since those ‘others’ that we already have prefer buying swedish songs.

Charles
Guest
Charles

This whole orgy of wanting more and more countries in the competition may be a delight for fans watching it live at the arenas …. but it becomes a mess of its own for TV viewers who actually are the main televoters … and fans sadly have been forgetting that when creating certain expectations when actually … everything depends on what is broadcast on TV. Yes it’s called Eurovision not because you want to see circus, props, dancing, fireworks and in a very gay-way judge on outfits and clothes because well … that’s what some gay guys love to do… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Hopefully this means they’ll come back!! If you can all remember, when wiwiblogs posted a list of reasons why Australia wouldn’t participate. Guess what happened the month after!

Mario
Guest
Mario

@ Jean
Well mind your own business and just leave my comments alone..
If you have an issue with my writings its your problem..

Melissa J
Guest

Samira Said is still amazing! I would love to see Morocco return. It’d be nice to have another culture represented in the contest. 🙂

tom
Guest

Well as much as I’d love to have Morocco return the EBU would need to get te new Brodcaster in the union since they are more keen to enter, same with Kazakhstan and Lichtenstein. But I believe they should try and help out Monaco Luxembourg Andorra and Slovakia an other nations like Bulgari to return as well.

Lindita
Guest
Lindita

At least France and Spain would get some points from this country. Also Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Jean
Guest
Jean

Mario, stop

Stop being pathetic

bavarson
Guest
bavarson

Most popular winner of Eurovision is ABBA

Mario ~ Queen Of Vision LOREEN Is Back!
Guest
Mario ~ Queen Of Vision LOREEN Is Back!

LOREEN the most popular ever winner in our Vision is Moroccan <3
She was born & raised in Sweden by moroccan parents that immigrated there 4 a better life.. <3
And look what happened..! <3 They witnessed their daughter winning the EuroVision & becoming super star of Europe! <3

Now Loreen is expected to release her anticipated 2nd album named *PaperLight* this year after 3 years since her debut album *Heal*.. <3 😀

Mario ~ Live Gay Love In Erotic Morocco
Guest
Mario ~ Live Gay Love In Erotic Morocco

I’m sure that Morocco has multiple hottie handsome Moroccans gay singers that are in the closet <3
So if they ever return again in our Vision hopefully a homosexual singer will be their first representative <3

Mario ~ Live Gay Love In Erotic Morocco
Guest
Mario ~ Live Gay Love In Erotic Morocco

Well Morocco is deeply homophobic country with severe homophobic anti gay laws..
Although there are many Moroccans that are gay/bi & there is rising gay tourism with the gay foreigners seeking gay lovers in Morocco..

Really sad that this country has not at least decriminalized homosexuality..

Morocco must be beautiful country with exotic passionate hot Moroccans.. <3

AlvaRiro
Guest
AlvaRiro

never again participate. Also you can do an article on Luxembourg

BooMansAndBooSweden
Guest
BooMansAndBooSweden

6.You have to buy juries in order to win (hey Sweden!)

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

We can dream xd

Deniz
Guest
Deniz

It would be amazing to see Morocco back. Looks indeed impossible though.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Morocco should definitely get back on board. It will obviously be a multi-year process to get there (which probably starts with regularly broadcasting the contest) but that process should be started now.

Hippo
Guest
Hippo

Out of all the countries that have participated but withdrawn I’d like to see Croatia or Bosnia -Herzegovina back. Really looking forward to Turkey and Ukraine back though so I’m happy enough.

danielvarga
Guest
danielvarga

Morocco should’ve won in 1980. Their song was the best.