Algeria’s football federation has lodged a complaint with FIFA, football’s world governing body, after it was beaten by Cameroon in a Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification playoff, and called for the match to be replayed.
The move on Thursday came after the football association’s president resigned. Algeria has argued that its defeat on Tuesday – which took place in Algeria’s stadium, Blida – was distorted by the referee’s performance.
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“The Algerian Football Federation [FAF] has lodged an appeal with the International Federation of Association Football [FIFA] against the scandalous arbitration which distorted the result of the Algeria-Cameroon play-off return match,” a statement by the FAF read.
“The FAF is determined to use all legally permitted means to have its rights restored and to replay the match under conditions guaranteeing the honesty and partiality of the arbitration,” it said, adding that it has also requested the “opening of an investigation” into the matter.
Cameroon secured their place on away goals with the last kick of the match against Algeria, deep into extra time, as Karl Toko Ekambi swept home a speculative cross to win the match 2-1.
Algeria, who had won the first leg in Cameroon 1-0, were left crestfallen by the defeat.
“We were only 10 seconds away from the World Cup. We collapsed,” Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi said after the loss.
“We put our lives on hold for this match and this success and we only had qualification on our minds. It is going to be hard to get through the next days.”
Egypt claims ‘racist’ fan behaviour
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) launched a complaint with FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) against its Senegalese counterpart for violent and “racist” fan behaviour, according to a statement released on Wednesday, after Senegal defeated Egypt in a penalty shoot-out to qualify for Qatar 2022. Egypt is also demanding the match be replayed.
According to the EFA’s statement, “The Egyptian team was subjected to racism as crowds held up offensive banners in the stands, particularly against team captain Mohamed Salah.”
The complaint also said players were pelted with water bottles and stones during their warm-up.
There was widespread criticism online about the crowd shining green lasers in the faces of the players during the game. Those lasers were notably seen on Salah before his penalty miss.
Usher Komugisha, an African football journalist, said both Algeria and Egypt’s appeals are unlikely to succeed.
“When you look at the history of how FIFA has handled cases like this, they’ll have to prove that there was malpractice or that there was corruption with the referee,” Komugisha told Al Jazeera.
“Also you have to give credit to Bakary Papa Gassama [who officiated Algeria v Cameroon], he’s one of the top three best referees on the African continent – he knows what he’s doing,” she said.