WASHINGTON — Throughout Morocco's history-making run in the World Cup, many viewers tuning in have been curious about why the country is listed as "MAR" during the match broadcasts.
The reason is actually pretty simple. While most of the scoreboard acronyms, also referred to as FIFA codes, come from the first three letters of a country's name in English, there are exceptions. Morocco is one of those exceptions.
Why is Morocco 'MAR'?
While the country's English name is Morocco, it's known as Maroc in French.
According to a 2018 report from Slate, even though the official languages of the country are Arabic and Tamazight, French continues to have a powerful position there as a holdover from the colonial era.
Morocco isn't the only team in the World Cup with a country code that differs from that English standard.
Other abbreviations that stand out in 2022 include Spain going by "ESP," Saudi Arabia abbreviated to "KSA" (for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and South Korea referred to as "KOR."
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After their own teams were eliminated from the first World Cup in the Middle East, many Qatari, Saudi and Tunisians fans in Doha are now rallying behind Morocco — the last Arab team left in the first World Cup ever to be held in the Middle East.
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Morocco's victory against Spain meant the country’s first trip to the World Cup quarterfinals. According to Google Trends, global search interest in the Morocco national football team also hit an all-time high after the upset.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.