Iraq summons Algerian ambassador over pro-Saddam chants at UAFA match

The Iraqis said they decided to halt their match and leave the pitch after they heard sectarian slogans and chants being shouted at them from the Algerian stands. (File photos: AFP)

Baghdad ( – The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned on Monday the Algerian ambassador in Baghdad to voice his country’s rejection of the aggressive behavior shown by Algerian fans during a match in the Arab Champions League.

On Sunday, the Iraqi Air Force team withdrew from a match against hosts USM Alger after some Algerian fans chanted slogans that glorified late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. The game was held in the Algerian capital in the second leg of the Arab Champions League, a tournament sponsored by the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA).

In a statement, the ministry demanded clarification from relevant Algerian parties with regard to this condemnable behavior, and announced the summoning of the Algerian ambassador in Baghdad to inform his government of Iraq’s rejection of this act.

The ministry also urged the Algerian government to assume its responsibility for protecting the Iraqi citizens in Algeria and abstain from any act that could irritate the Iraqi people “and beautify the ugly face of the former dictatorial Saddam regime.”

Head of the Iraqi Football Federation Abdul Khaliq Masood warned earlier in the day that he would resign from his post as vice president of the Union of Arab Football Associations if no action was taken “to restore respect to Iraqi football” following Sunday’s incidents.

Kurdish media network NRT TV quoted Masood as saying in a statement that if the Arab Union does not take a fair decision to restore respect to Iraqi football, he will submit his resignation as vice-president of the Union of Arab Football Associations and no more Iraqi teams will be allowed to take part in the union’s competitions.

The UAE referee officiating the match waited for 15 minutes after the match was halted at the 75th minute then announced the end of the game. The first leg ended with an Algerian victory by 1-0.

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  1. It’s a foolish action that of summoning the ambassador, was the minister or the president chanting along with them? the Algerian state cannot be held responsible for such an action, and then, It is the right of Algerians to like Saddam Hussein, was he not the only Arab leader who attacked Israel?

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