â†µWell FIFA must love this story. Following the heartbreaking defeat to the United States in their final World Cup match, Algerian forward Rafik Saifi reportedly slapped a female reporter during the mixed-zone interview time. Yahoo's Martin Rogers was on the scene: â†µ
â†µâ‡¥While walking through the interview zone, [Rafik] Saifi spotted writer Asma Halimi, who works for Algerian newspaper Competition, and struck her with his open hand in front of dozens of witnesses. Halimi responded by striking the player in the mouth. â†µâ†µAnother reporter on the scene indicated that Halimi "caught his lip" when she hit Saifi back. She was escorted away from the scene as Saifi threw a bottle against a wall, in obvious frustration after the loss and unceremonious performance in three matches at the World Cup. Still, hitting a female reporter? That's not what FIFA would consider fair play. â†µ
â†µThe worst part is Halimi reportedly was just standing there and didn't even say anything to prompt the assault. No, wait, the worst thing is a player on a World Cup roster striking a woman, and a member of the media. That offense is compounded by the fact that it was reportedly an unsolicited act. Halimi indicated she will file a formal complaint to FIFA and the Algerian Football Association. â†µâ†µ
â†µRogers indicated that the two had a previous "difference of opinion" over a story she had written for Competition, so this could have been premeditated. At the very least, even if in the heat of the moment after a tough loss, it's inexcusable. Saifi's bio on FIFA.com reads, in part: â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥Rafik Saifi has long been described as one of the leading lights of Algerian football, and the 35-year-old veteran shows no inclination to depart the sporting stage just yet, displaying the same enthusiasm for the game as he did at the beginning of his professional career in the early 1990s. â†µâ†µAfter the investigation into this fallout, the 35-year old may be departing the sporting stage a little sooner than his write up suggests. There may very well be more to this story, but it seems as though Saifi crossed a line FIFA will not tolerate.â†µ
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