The Egyptian Handball Federation announced earlier this week that it was withdrawing from its responsibility to host the African Championships next February 10-21. The stated reason for the withdrawal is Egypt’s security concerns with hosting Algeria so soon after the controversial world cup soccer qualifying matches between the two nations. The two matches, one played in Egypt and the follow on tiebreaker in Sudan have heightened tensions and resulted in violence against Egyptians living in Algeria and vice versa.
The Egyptian Federation had first sought to delay the event until later in 2010, but this request was denied by the African Handball Federation, known by its French acronym (CAHB). With the CAHB refusing to delay the event, Egypt then withdrew as host. The CAHB is now reportedly considering Morocco as a new host for the event, and some sources are either calling for Egypt to be banned from competing for two years citing that CAHB’s own regulations require this punishment.
Reports in the Algerian daily, La Tribune, allege that Egypt’s decision not to host are not related to security concerns, but instead are related to insufficient funds to stage the event. Additionally, La Tribune also reported that the Egyptian team was not prepared and that delaying the event was simply a ploy to allow more time to get their team in order.
The African Nations Championship is the premier handball event in Africa and serves as the qualifier for the Men’s and Women’s 2011 World Championship. As the event serves as a World Championship qualifier the International Handball Federation (IHF) could potentially intervene in this dispute. Notably, the President of the IHF, Dr Hassan Moustafa is also a former President of the Egyptian Federation.
AFP: Egypt not to host handball tournament in Algeria spat: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iF7mx4nDAv4qFGnS_5SzZCStt3mg
Reuters Africa: Egypt opts out as handball host over Algeria tension: http://af.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idAFJOE5AT0BF20091130
La Tribune (Algeria) (26 Nov 09): Egyptian Maneuvers: http://www.latribune-online.com/evenement/26043.html
La Tribune (Algeria) (29 Nov 09): Egypt, up against the wall: http://www.latribune-online.com/suplements/sportsup/26071.html
DZ Blog (Algeria) (2 Dec 09): Morocco: Egypt must be sanctioned: http://www.dzhand.net/index.php?post/2009/12/02/Le-Maroc-exige-de-sanctionner-l%E2%80%99Egypte