Tuesday, November 24, 2009

African Union Chairman Gaddafi To Mediate Football Row Between Egypt and Algeria

Gaddafi 'to mediate' football row

Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has agreed to mediate between Algeria and Egypt in an increasingly heated row over football, state media says.

Libyan news agency Jana reported that the Arab League had asked Col Gaddafi to intercede between the two nations.

Each side accused the other's fans of violent attacks after last
week's vital World Cup play-off, which Algeria won.

Diplomatic spats have followed and Algerian tour operators have now suspended all trips to Egypt.

Algeria's Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni has accused the Egyptian
authorities of failing to provide the players with adequate

Meanwhile, Egypt has accused the Algerian authorities of orchestrating a campaign of violence against its football fans.

The BBC Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says repeated appeals for calm and rational thinking have been ignored.

He says politicians on both sides appear to believe they can boost
their popularity by playing the nationalist card.

Embassy protests

Jana news agency reported that Arab League chief Amr Musa had asked Col Gaddafi to play the role of mediator.

"As chairman of the African Union, the Guide of the Revolution [Col
Gaddafi] is going to work to bridge the gulf that has opened up
between Egypt and Algeria," Jana reported.

Algeria qualified for the World Cup by beating Egypt 1-0 in a play-off
match held in Sudan on 18 November.

But Egyptians were incensed by reports that Egyptian fans had been
attacked as they left the stadium in Khartoum.

Hundreds of Egyptians protested near the Algerian embassy on Thursday and Friday.

Fifa inquiry

And Egypt threatened to quit international football for two years
after complaining to football's governing body, Fifa, about the
behaviour of Algerian fans in Khartoum.

But Algeria and Sudan have accused Egypt of exaggerating the
post-match violence.

Fifa has opened an inquiry into the Khartoum incidents.

It has already begun disciplinary proceedings against Egypt after an
earlier match between the two nations on 14 November in Cairo.

The Algerian team bus was pelted with stones before the game and three of the team's players were injured.

The teams needed the play-off after they finished tied at the top of
their qualification group with equal points and an identical goal

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/11/24 17:51:50 GMT

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