Rabat- Iraq’s foreign ministry has summoned Algeria’s ambassador after Algerian fans chanted slogans glorifying Saddam Hussein at the Arab Champions League.
Iraq’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Mahjub, expressed in a statement “the indignation of the [Iraqi] government and the Iraqi people [at] the horrible glorification of the regime of murderous dictator Saddam Hussein.”
Halfway through a football match between the Algerian team USM Alger and the Iraqi Air Force football club at the annual Arab Champions League on September 9, when the Algerian team was leading 2-0, Algerian spectators started chanting “Saddam Hussein.”
A video of the incident shows the team arguing when they heard chants echoing “Allahu akbar! Saddam Hussein!” The Iraqi team then left the pitch.
USM Alger fans start chanting about Saddem Hussain in the Arab Champions Cup tonight as they were playing against an Iraqi side.
Their opponents then walk off the field. pic.twitter.com/bjiNfZSiuF
— DZ Football (@DZFootball_en) September 9, 2018
The Iraqi team’s coach, Bassem Qassem, accused the Algerian audience of having “backward and extremist ideas.”
He said, according to Emirati news outlet, Gulf News, “We can’t accept the crowd insulting our country and our team.”
The president of the Iraq Football Association, Abdel Khaleq Massud, said in a statement, “If the Arab Football Federation does not take a decision to restore … respect for Iraqi football, the Iraqi federation will withdraw its clubs.”
Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq from 1979 until 2003. During his presidency, Hussein invaded neighboring countries and tortured and executed those who opposed his rule.
Saddam’s own execution took place December 30, 2006, after the Iraqi Special Tribunal sentenced him to death by hanging for crimes against humanity, which include the killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’ites in 1982