Egypt & Algeria soccer spat reaches Arab League
Officials seek solution after provocative Israeli offer
The Arab League is currently mulling several proposals after it was forced to step in, rebuffing a provocative Israeli offer, to end a bitter tit-for-tat spat between Egypt and Algeria following their 2010 World Cup qualifier playoff match in Sudan.
One of the main proposals was a bid to ban celebrities and politicians from attending future matches between Egypt and Algeria as it was considered one of the major factors that led to the recent clashes that followed the game, a diplomatic source from the Arab League told Al Arabiya.
During the second round between the rivals, which took place in Cairo on Nov. 14 and which Egypt won 2-0, Algeria sent a plane carrying three ministers and 200 MPs.
Whereas in the final round, which took place in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Nov. 18, which Algeria won 1-0, Egypt sent 133 celebrities, including President Hosni Mubarak's two sons and several prominent politicians.
The presence of passionate fans from both sides subjected the public figures to several problems, which they later talked about to several media outlets and, stirring public opinion, which analysts say fueled the crisis between both nations.
The proposal argued that banning public figures from attending future matches, such as the upcoming 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, would serve as a precautionary measure against further media campaigns in which both sides engage in endless incriminations.
Another proposal argued that the first step to end the bitter rivalry is to immediately stop the current media campaigns and adopt wiser methods of tackling the problem at this critical stage.
An Arab League spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that since the tension has been rising Secretary General Amr Moussa has been receiving several phone calls from member states calling on the league to solve the crisis.
Arab initiatives to solve the problem intensified in the wake of a provocative statement made by Israel and in which it offered to mediate between Egypt and Algeria.
According to information obtained by Al Arabiya, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit and his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci are currently working on organizing a meeting between the two countries, but the level of representation has not yet been decided.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)