Sunday, February 20, 2011

Soccer Revolution

Egypt Vs. Algeria in this photo.

Kadhafi Lays Foundation Stone for Al ahli (soccer club) headquarters

Tripoli, Libya – The Libyan leader, Mouamar Kadhafi, has laid the foundation stone for the headquarters of Al-Ahli football club in Tripoli, with the reminder of the importance of sports in building a sound mind and a healthy body. Speaking before a a huge crowd of supporters of the club on Wednesday evening the Libyan leader emphasised that sports was an important additional aspect of life.

Kadhafi stressed the importance of good healthy diet for the people to live well without diseases.

He traced the history of the club which, he said, was founded in very difficult circumstances in the history of Libya.

This was at the time when the Pifen-Siforza project, named after the foreign ministers of Italy and United Kingdom (UK) after world War II, under which Libya was to be divided between Italy, France and UK.

France was to take Fezzan, Italy the Tripolitania and the UK the Cyrenaica.

Kadhafi said following demonstrations and protests when there was a declaration that Libya was to become independent in two years, the Pifen-Siforza project was dropped.

The Libyan leader said the club was founded in such circumstances of demonstrations and protests against the project and the masses obtained a peaceful independence so that Libya became a united state.

He added that Libyans would build the future with strong will and morality.

This was at a time when enemies, agents and corrupted people all over the world were 'falling like dead leaves', he said, adding that 'only free revolutionaries would remain'.

Pana 19/02/2011

Libya Bans Soccer Matches

Libya, concerned that mass anti-government demonstrations in neighbouring Egypt and the toppling of President Zine Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia on its western border could fuel further protests in the North African country, has cancelled all soccer matches, according to Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language news network quoted unidentified Libyan sources as saying a state of emergency and a security alert had been declared in Libyan areas bordering on Egypt. It said security sources were deploying in the region.

The sources told Al Jazeera that security forces were instructed to stop all public gatherings. The decision of the Libyan Football Federation to cancel all matches is believed to have been taken as a result of government attempts to prevent further demonstrations in Libya.

Soccer has emerged as an important factor in the wave of protests sweeping the Arab world. Soccer fans in Egypt are a major force in the protests that have already forced President Hosni Mubarak to form a new government and are gunning to put an end to his 30-year rule.

Soccer riots in Jordan in December that left 250 people, including 30 policemen, wounded, exposed a deepening cleavage between the kingdom’s East Bank Bedouin population and Jordanians of Palestinian origin.

Earlier this month, Algeria also canceled all soccer matches in a bid to prevent the pitch from becoming a platform for mass protests that forced the government to put a lid on commodity prices.

Libyans took to the streets earlier this month to protest corruption in public housing.

James M. Dorsey authors The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Soccer Fans Cheer Gadaffi Son at Green Square in Tripoli

Soccer fans in Libya, wracked by anti-government protests in which security forces have killed dozens, appear to be playing a very different role from their counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia.

If Libyan state-run television is to be believed, some 1,000 fans of Tripoli clubs Al Ahli and Al Ettihad gathered in the Libyan capital’s Green Square to cheer one of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gaddafi’s son, Saadi.

Saadi toured the square on the roof of a car, waving and shaking the hands of supporters, who chanted “God, Libya and Moammar only.”

The cheering of Saadi, who several years ago imposed himself as a member of Libya’s national team as part of the Gaddafi family’s effort to employ soccer as a form of political and social control, contrasted starkly with events elsewhere in North Africa.

Soccer fans in Egypt and Tunisia played key roles in overthrowing the dictatorships of Messrs. Hosni Mubarak and Zine Abedine Ben Ali.

The cheering of Saadi came as he was put in charge of brutally crushing the revolt in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city 1,000 kilometres east of Tripoli and a centre of the anti-government protests. Many of the deaths in recent days reportedly occurred in Benghazi.

While the Gaddafis traditionally enjoy more of a power base in Tripoli than in eastern Libya, it was not immediately clear what persuaded the soccer fans to cheer Saadi Gaddafi. Libyan opposition supporters suggest the fans may not have had a choice, noting that the government keeps a tight political reign on the soccer clubs.

James M. Dorsey authors The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog

Arab Revolutionaries to Play Soccer Friendly despite Historical Animosity

Egypt and Tunisia, the two Arab countries most successful to date in overthrowing their dictators, have agreed to play a soccer friendly despite their longstanding football animosity.

Egyptian Football Association board member Ayman Younes said a date for the match, dubbed “the revolutionists’ game,” had yet to set.

Tunisians were the first in the Arab world to rise in protest, forcing Tunisian President Zine Abedine Ben Ali to last month seek exile in Saudi Arabia. The uprising has sparked a wave of anti-government protests across the Middle East and North Africa that earlier this month toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and has sparked brutal crackdowns in Libya and Bahrain.

Younes said Egypt and Tunisia hoped that FIFA would incorporate the match in its international calendar as an annual event.

Both Egypt and Tunisia, alongside Algeria, which is also confronting anti-government protests, have suspended all professional league matches to prevent the soccer pitch from becoming an opposition rallying point.

Egypt last played Tunisia in a match it lost 2:0 in 2005. Riots erupted in Cairo when storied Al Ahly SC beat Tunisia’s Esperance 2:1 in October of last year.

“Egyptians and Tunisians have a long history of feuds over football matches; a fact the tyrants exploited to exert control,” said Nawara Najem, an Egyptian journalist and blogger who was a spokeswoman for the anti-Mubarak demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in an article in The Guardian.

Football fans in both countries played important roles in the overthrow of their dictators.

Najem, speaking about the protests in Egypt, said the demonstrators “began to plan how to outmanoeuvre the security forces; experiences of football crowds which have long faced off against the security forces were helpful here.”

About Me James M Dorsey

Welcome to The Turbulent World of Middle East soccer. It’s a world in which the game is played as much on as off the pitch. Soccer is the only institution that rivals political as well as non-political Islam in creating alternative public spaces to vent pent-up anger and frustration. In various MidEast nations, soccer is the only non-religious, non-governmental institution capable of successfully taking a stand against militant Islamists or military and security dominated regimes. Soccer has its own unique thrill in the region – a high-stakes game of cat and mouse between enthusiasts and jihadists and a struggle for a trophy grander than the FIFA World Cup: the future of a region. This blog will explore the match that challenges the boundaries set by authoritarian regimes seeking to retain power at whatever price, thrives on the enlargement of goal posts imposed by globalization on governments and societies, defies gender and sexual discrimination, demands greater transparency and accountability and offers the disenfranchised a voice in an environment of forced silence and official misrepresentation. Contact:
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Libya is scheduled to host the Semi finals of the U-20 African Youth Championship AYC, of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Tripoli and Bengazi from 18 March to 1 April, 2011.

According to Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, head of NFF Competitions, they are closely monitoring the political crisis in Libya. "According to Sanusi, the NFF is praying that the current political logjam, where the Libyans are calling for a political reform, and resignation of their president, Moammar Gadhafi from power, won't get out of hand."

"We are monitoring the situation in Libya. We are watching events to see what will happen. We just pray the situation won't get out of hand so that it wil not affect the AYC," he said.

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