Egypt to withdraw from international football, withdraws from North African Union?
The Egyptian Football Association filed an official complaint to FIFA, threatening to withdraw the national Egyptian team from organized football for at least two years. Rumors have already begun to abound as to whether the EFA will boycott the 2010 African Cup of Nations kicking off in January.
On November 19, following the events surrounding the last World Cup 2010 qualifying match between Egypt and Algeria, the EFA issued a statement calling on FIFA, the world governing body of football, to “restore discipline” in the game of football. The EFA called on the governing body to take firm action against the alleged violence directed towards Egyptian fans in Sudan by Algerian fans, following the 1-0 loss.
The statement read that “Egyptian fans, officials and players put their lives at risk before and after the game, under threat from weapons, knives, swords and flares.” The Egyptian government flew in a military plane to bring the national team home after the match.
This statement is issued following what a number of local newspapers called the “terrorism” exercised by Algerians, fans of the winning team, against Egyptian fans in Sudan. Egyptian buses and cars, carrying fans, among them officials and celebrities, were allegedly attacked.
Any person, man or woman, wearing red in the streets of Khartoum was attacked, a number of actors said on Egyptian national television.
In a separate statement, the EFA allegedly officially withdrew from the North African Football Union that includes Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, as well as Algeria.
Two days after the match, riots broke out in Cairo directed at Algeria, including an attack on the Embassy. The government responded by shutting down a number of streets in the upper-class Zamalek neighborhood in an effort to stem the violence, which had seen shop windows smashed and broken. Many Egyptians argue this was a response to the violence that spread in Sudan following the match.
In a related issue, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry recalled its Ambassador to Algeria due to the events in Sudan and the destruction of Egyptian companies property in Algeria.