In 1917, Tétouan saw the appearance of its first clubs of football, "Sporting of Tetuán" and "el Hispano-Marroquí" ("The Spanish-Moroccan"). One year later these two club, and a third one called "el Radio", are fused and that gave the birth to the "Athletic Club Tetuán". This club was dissolved a few months later.
After independence, the club was split into two clubs, Club Atlético Maghreb based in Tétouan and Club Atlético Tetuán that merged with Sociedad Deportiva Ceuta to form Club Atlético Ceuta, now merged to AD Ceuta and playing in Spanish Tercera División.
Whilst it is almost certain that football was played on the site of the Estadio de Varela from the turn of the 20th century, the land was not formally enclosed until 1913. Situated on the north bank of the River Martil, the stadium played host to a variety of sports thanks to the inclusion of a cinder athletics track. Rudimentary bleachers were added once Atlético started to play in Campeonato Hispano-Marroquí, whilst officials could watch from a rather ornate raised, open terrace. This wedge shaped construction was double sided, so that one could view races at the hippodrome that stood to the west of the stadium. Atlético's ascent to La Primera led to the stadium undergoing major redevelopment. An open stand with bench terracing was erected on the east side which was linked to semi circular end terraces. Club office and changing rooms were built in the south west corner and the pitch was access via an underground tunnel behind the southern goal. The stadium's main tribuna was built on the west side, and this featured a vaulted concrete cantilevered roof. However, it was only 75 metres in length and ran from the southern touchline, before seemingly losing interest and petering out just after the halfway line. With a capacity of 15,000, Varela suited Atlético just fine, and it also seemed to suit Moghreb Tétouan just fine, as little was done to the stadium for the next 50 years.
In the intervening years, the stadium was renamed the Stade Saniat Rmel and in 2007, the parched turf was replaced with an artificial surface. Work on the original terraces saw the capacity reduced to 10,000, but then in 2011, to mark the 60th anniversary of the original club's promotion to La Primera, the main tribuna underwent a major refurbishment. A new framework was erected at the rear of the stand to support the original, ageing concrete roof. Everything was given a coat of red, white & blue paint and new bucket seats were bolted to the concrete steps. After 50 years of achieving very little, Moghreb Tétouan won its first Moroccan championship in May 2012. As the city celebrated the club's first major honour, the Ultras paraded banners celebrating the club's Spanish heritage, saying "Siempre Los Matadores" (Matadors Forever).