World Cup Football Creates a Diplomatic Crisis

World Cup Football Creates a Diplomatic Crisis

OK, so France wins on a bad call by a referee.  And people in Ireland are mad.  And the Irish Prime Minister even brought it up with French President Sarkozy at a recent EU meeting.  But nothing quite captures the importance of soccer and the World Cup then riots, clashes, and the recall of ambassadors after Egypt defeated Algeria in a World Cup qualifier.  Maybe it’s a good thing that Americans could care less about the World Cup.

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) — Hundreds of angry demonstrators in Egypt’s capital fought with police near the Algerian Embassy early Friday, the Interior Ministry said.

The clashes in Cairo stem from tensions over Algeria’s victory over Egypt in a World Cup qualifier soccer match and earlier fights between soccer fans in the North African countries.

The ministry said 39 security forces were wounded in the clashes, and cars and stores were damaged in Zamalek, an island in Cairo on the Nile River. At present, there is a strong security presence in the area with truckloads of riot police and more than 1,000 security forces.

A series of clashes between Egyptian and Algerian soccer fans also has led to a diplomatic row between the two North African countries, with Egypt recalling its ambassador to Algiers on Thursday.

Husam Zaki, a spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, said Cairo has asked its envoy to return from Algeria “for consultations” after a week of tensions over qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup.

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hahaha… yeah soccer is kind of a big deal.


You are right, LaPenseuse. It is a big deal. Football in the international arena is an equalizer, as the Spiegel Online article points out. Talented players can come from any part of the globe, and being able to represent your country alongside the teams of superpowers is a position of unique national pride. I hope that we will be able to watch a World Cup this year without poor officiating.

Also, enduring the shoddy officiating of the first four games of an American SEC football season makes me empathetic for the Irish.

Caveat: Certainly not blaming the referees for the second half of the season.