Al-Ahram Weekly Online   10 - 16 December 2009
Issue No. 976
Sports
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Both will be punished

The results of a FIFA investigation into the Egypt-Algeria incidents will be known by the end of February. Inas Mazhar reports from Cape Town

FIFA executive members have decided to ask its disciplinary committee to investigate the incidents that occurred in the Egypt-Algeria matches of 14 and 18 November.

FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said an official letter will be sent to the disciplinary committee asking it to open an investigation into the incidents according to complaints submitted by the Algerians and Egyptians.

"The committee will take some time to complete their investigation because they must hear both sides and then take a decision which might be by the end of February," Valcke told Al-Ahram Weekly. "This decision will be final and will not have any affect on the draw that has already been conducted or will change any of the 32 participating teams."

Valcke added that FIFA might include other judges and juries in the disciplinary committee. "It does not have to be the same members of the committee. We know that there is an Algerian member in the disciplinary group but this person will have nothing to say in the discussions. We haven't decided whether we'll exclude him," Valcke said.

FIFA President Joseph Blatter had earlier said that any decisions taken by the disciplinary committee will change nothing in the 2010 World Cup, implying that incessant speculation about Egypt and Algeria as well as the France and Ireland play-off matches should be brought to an end.

The case of France's Thierry Henry's infamous handball against Ireland has also been forwarded to the disciplinary committee and sanctions are expected.

Egypt's Hani Abou Rida, a member of FIFA's executive committee and who was in Cape Town for the executive committee meetings, said Egypt had still not presented its documented evidence concerning the match with Algeria. "We only presented a complaint in which we have asked to include the incidents of the Khartoum game in the investigation. If we hadn't done so, the investigation would have dealt strictly with the first match in Cairo. I managed to get 10 extra days to complete the file.

"I expect there will be no more than sanctions or fines imposed on both sides. There will not be any replay as people believe. But we still have to fight for our rights."

Egypt's two World Cup qualifying matches with Algeria erupted in controversy. In the run-up to the 14 November match in Cairo, the bus carrying Algerian players from Cairo Airport to their hotel was reportedly stoned and three players were injured.

In Sudan four days later, Algerian fans, some with knives, attacked Egyptian supporters after the game outside the stadium. Twenty Egyptians were treated for mostly minor injuries.

Back here

EGYPT will hold the 19th African Nations Handball Cup after it initially withdrew as host of the upcoming event following the controversy over the football match between Egypt and Algeria.

The U-tun came after the African Handball Federation was to give Algeria the chance to host the championship instead of Egypt. The African federation had offered Libya, Tunisia and Morocco the chance to bid as hosts.

Egypt's World Cup qualifying match with Algeria, played in Sudan on 18 November, erupted in controversy after Algerian fans, some with knives, attacked Egyptian supporters following the game outside the stadium. Twenty Egyptians were treated for mostly minor injuries.

"We withdrew the first time because we were not ready to take part in events with Algerians participating after what happened in the Sudan encounter," Medhat El-Beltagui, executive director of the National Sports Council, said. "We would have suffered financial penalties" plus being unable to go to the World Handball Championship because the African contest is a direct qualifier to the world event. "We thought it better to withdraw but when we discovered that Algeria sought to host the event, we changed our position."

Hassan Sakr, head of the NSC, announced immediately after the match in Sudan that Egypt had withdrawn from any and all championships in any sport which would include Algeria.

The African Nations Handball Cup is to be held in February.

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