SUDAN WATCH: Egypt angered by football violence

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Egypt angered by football violence

From The Financial Times
Egypt angered by football violence
By Heba Saleh in Cairo
November 18 2009 02:00
Algeria's ambassador to Cairo has been summoned to the foreign ministry after a series of attacks on Egyptian workers and companies by crowds of angry Algerian football fans furious at being beaten 2-0 by Egypt in a World Cup qualifier in Cairo.

The envoy was called in to explain the violence in Algeria, which Egyptian businesses say has intensified ahead of a play-off between the teams today on neutral territory in Khartoum, Sudan's capital. The match will determine which of the sides attends South Africa 2010.

Egypt is the largest investor in Algeria outside the oil and gas sector.

The two countries are traditional football rivals and their games have often been marked by violence. A World Cup qualifier in 1989 is best remembered for rioting and the issuing of an international arrest warrant against one of the Algerian players.

The violence started after reports the Algerian team had been attacked in Cairo before Saturday's match. Images broadcast on the internet showed Algerian players with blood on their faces and the team coach with broken windows.

Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian executive chairman of Orascom Telecom Holding, said mobs had ransacked the headquarters of Djezzy, Orascom's Algerian subsidiary, and destroyed its factory and 15 of its shops.

He said that with the destruction of crucial equipment there was a danger the company's network, which serves 15m subscribers, could stop functioning, and that the cost of the damage could run into "tens of millions" of dollars.

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