A nasty spat between an Algerian soccer player and an Algerian reporter took place Wednesday after the U.S. eliminated Algeria from the World Cup with a 1-0 victory.
After playing in what may be his last international match with Algeria, 35-year-old striker Rafik Saifi “slapped the face of journalist Asma Halimi.”
Halimi then returned the favor by reflexively slapping Saifi right back, cutting his lip with her fingernail. Saifi then stormed out of the media area after throwing a water bottle against the wall.
The international media has since done little to dig into why Saifi attacked Halimi in such an aggressive, seemingly bizarre manner.
The BBC reports:
The journalist, who works for Algerian newspaper Competition, said she had a disagreement with Saifi a year ago.
“I will make [a] complaint with Fifa and the police,” she added.
The BBC World Service’s Richard Connelly witnessed the incident in the mixed zone - an area where journalists and players congregate - after the match.
“Saifi took exception to an interview that she translated and published in her newspaper,” explained Connelly.
“There was a similar incident between the two last year.
Halimi says that Saifi threatened that she will come to harm in Algeria.
Dozens of similar reports of the incident have been filed, but none have spelled out what specifically motivated Saifi to attack Hamili.
Martin Rogers of Yahoo Sports reports:
“I said nothing to him and he reached over and hit me,” Halimi said to Yahoo! Sports. “So I hit him back. I said nothing to him first.”
It is understood that Saifi and Halimi had previously had a difference of opinion over an article she wrote for her newspaper.
Reporter Halimi (apparently) hasn’t exactly been forthcoming in detailing what that “difference of opinion” was, but after investigating the matter today, I’ve dug up why Saifi was so upset. Read more…