Egypt Symbolically Punished by FIFA For Attack on Algerian Players
Six months after the incidents in Cairo, FIFA finally came up with its sanction against Egypt. FIFA’s delay in sanctioning Egypt was difficult to understand knowing FIFA officials were already in Cairo to monitor the way Egypt organised the Algerians’ stay in Cairo. From the delay in issuing the sanctions one could have rightly presumed FIFA was in no hurry to apply its rules: Egypt gets away with light sanctions.
Here’s FIFA’s statement:
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Marcel Mathier, decided today, 18 May, in Zurich to impose a ban on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) whereby the “A” representative team of Egypt will play the first two home matches of the preliminary competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ at a location at least 100 kilometres away from Cairo.
In addition, the EFA will have to pay a fine of CHF 100,000. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee took this decision after determining that the EFA had failed to take all the necessary security precautions to ensure the safety of the Algerian delegation, as well as security and order in the Cairo International Stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier between Egypt and Algeria held on 14 November 2009.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee noted in particular that the Egyptian FA had not adopted the necessary measures to prevent the assault on the bus of the Algerian delegation on the way from the airport to the hotel on 12 November 2009. In addition, the bus windows were smashed and four members of the Algerian delegation, including three players, were injured.
It was equally noted that security and order in the stadium were not guaranteed, as an excessive number of spectators were granted access to the stadium and the entrances and stairways were obstructed. Furthermore, at the end of the match, the bus of the Algerian delegation was detained for over 45 minutes.
With regard to the play-off match between Algeria and Egypt held in Sudan on 18 November 2009, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee determined that the conditions for opening disciplinary proceedings had not been met and therefore decided to close this matter.
What happened back then?
Well, as FIFA confirms it, to understand you need listen to the Algerian version of events:
Egypt Vs Algeria is always a passionate North African derby but that November match was even tenser as it would determine who would qualify for the World Cup. Algeria was top of its group with a two goals advance over Egypt (despite being disgracefully robbed of two additional ones during the Rwanda game). Having also been beaten 3-1 in Algeria, the Egyptians really hoped to get back at Algeria. On the internet Egyptian fans promised Algerian players to make their stay hell in Cairo. Declarations from Mr Samir Zaher, president of the Egyptian FA, did nothing to diminish Egypt fans’ virulence against Algeria.
The Egyptian hooligans’ threats to make the Algerian players’ stay in Cairo Hell turned true: After leaving the airport, the Algerian national team bus was cowardly attacked with rocks by Egyptian fans while the Egyptian police looked on (Egypt is a police state in a permanent state of emergency, no disorder happens, especially near the international airport, unless the government wills it…). Three players were injured. To add insult to injury, Egyptian police officials denied that Algerian team members were hurt, saying security troops overpowered local fans who tried to throw stones. The Egyptian media accused the Algerian players of having injured themselves while at the same time videos of the attack filmed by a French tv channel (canal+) and another by a player inside the bus was circulating on the internet….
Surprisingly, FIFA did not apply its rules regarding violence on players and demanded the Algerians play at the time and day it was originally scheduled. Should the injured players been Europeans, you can be sure sanctions would have been taken right away…
In those appalling conditions, Algeria lost 2-0 to Egypt and was forced to a playoff in Sudan, a playoff Algeria won. After the loss of their team, an Egyptian personality found no other way to return home fast than calling an Egyptian TV channel asking live for help from the Egyptian government, asking for planes to be get them home as soon as possible as they were supposedly attacked by armed mobs of Algerian fans…Although these outrageous claims were denied by both Sudan security (there were 15000 security officers, one for every two supporters!) and Egypt’s medical official in Khartoum.
All those claims, with images of Egyptian businesses being ransacked in Algiers, being relayed in the media angered Egyptians and it was not safe being Algerian in Egypt; Reports of Algerian citizens being attacked or harassed (even by Egyptian officials) were numerous. Algerian students had to abandon their studies and leave the country. Egypt’s President Mubarak, whose mouthpiece Al Ahram newspaper contributed to the Egyptian hysteria, exploited the situation in a populist fashion and recalled his ambassador from Algeria. His son joined in too, threatening Algeria…
Egyptians being manipulated:
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