Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Algeria, revulsed by Ebosse death, axes league ties


JS Kabylie’s Cameroonian striker Albert Ebosse, center, converts a penalty in their Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 1 match against USM Alger in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, on Saturday. Ebosse died later in the day after he was hit by a projectile thrown from the stands following his team’s defeat.

Photo: AFP

The death of Albert Ebosse, the Cameroon player killed by a missile thrown from the stands, has sparked widespread revulsion in Algeria, prompting the cancelation of this weekend’s league program in protest over the fatal attack.

In a strongly-worded statement issued on Monday, the Algerian Football Federation decried the growing violence blighting the sport in the country, while FIFA president Sepp Blatter demanded a stop to the violence.

The federation said it called off the weekend’s Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 1 games “in protest at the irresponsible actions of certain fanatics and hooligans who resort to violence in the stadiums which has reached an unacceptable level.”

The Cameroon forward was fatally hit following his side JS Kabylie’s 2-1 loss to USM Alger. Fans pelted the pitch with missiles as the players returned to their changing rooms at the Stade 1er Novembre 1954 in Tizi Ouzou.

Last season’s top goalscorer was pronounced dead after he was rushed to a hospital in the city, east of the capital, Algiers.

Ebosse, 24, succumbed to “a violent head injury,” hospital director Abbas Ziri confirmed.

Later on Monday, the Tizi Ouzou state prosecutor released a statement confirming that initial autopsy results revealed that Ebosse had died from being struck on the head by a “heavy blunt object that caused a hemorrhage.”

He added that he had ordered an investigation to be opened.

“I have asked the police to use every legal means possible, including television images, to identify the culprit and bring him to justice,” the statement read. “The police have also been instructed the circumstances in which the guilty person was able to obtain the rocks, or other objects, and then thrown them at the players.”

Blatter joined those expressing their4 outrage on social media.

“Intolerable that a fan causes a player’s death. Stop the violence. My emotional thoughts go to Albert Ebosse’s family. RIP,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Algerian federation said it was planning further action, including the expulsion of the club at fault “from all competitions.”

The Algerian league was to hold an extraordinary meeting yesterday where management from both clubs and officials at Saturday’s match will be interviewed.

Despite the shock expressed over the death, Algerian daily El Watan said that “this tragedy surprises nobody.”

“For years now violence has crept into the stadiums and spills over sometimes onto the streets, bringing with it a climate of fear and insecurity in our cities,” it said, linking the rise in violence to Islamist extremists “who train Algerian youth in terror and horror.”

Another daily, Liberte, suggested that the tragic incident “could have happened in any Algerian stadium” as “violence is general and systematic,” while El Khabar argued that Ebosse’s death meant “Algeria was not qualified to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations” in place of Libya.

“How can we protect the thousands of guests at the Nations Cup if the Confederation of African Football give Algeria the right to stage this competition?” it asked.

Ebosse will be remembered by a minute’s silence and players’ wearing black armbands in all matches on Sunday staged in his country of birth, the Cameroon players’ union announced.

In a statement, the union “expresses in the strongest terms its outrage and condemnation at this despicable act, tainted with a Machiavellian cruelty that took the life — on a football pitch — of one of its members.”

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