Player's death sparks widespread revulsion in Algeria; all football suspended
Last season’s top goalscorer succumbed to 'a violent head injury' after being struck on the head by 'a heavy blunt object'
The death of Albert Ebosse, the Cameroon player killed by a missile thrown from the stands, has sparked widespread revulsion in Algeria where this weekend’s league programme will be cancelled in protest at the fatal attack.
The Algerian Football Federation (FAF), in a strongly worded statement, decried the growing violence blighting the national game while Fifa boss Sepp Blatter demanded a stop to violence.
The federation said it had called off this weekend’s league games “in protest at the irresponsible actions of certain fanatics and hooligans who resort to violence in the stadiums which has reached an unacceptable level”.
The Cameroon forward was fatally hit following his side JS Kabylie’s 2-1 loss to USM Alger. Fans pelted the pitch with missiles as the players returned to their changing rooms at the Tizi Ouzou stadium.
Last season’s top goalscorer was pronounced dead after he was rushed to a hospital at Tizi Ouzou, east of the capital Algiers.
Ebosse, 24, succumbed to “a violent head injury”, confirmed hospital director Abbas Ziri.
The state prosecutor from Tizi Ouzhou released a statement confirming that initial autopsy results revealed Ebosse had died from being struck on the head by a “heavy blunt object that caused a haemorrhage”.
He added that he had ordered an investigation to be opened.
“I have asked the police to use every legal means possible, including television images, to identify the culprit and bring him to justice,” read the statement.
“The police have also been instructed the circumstances in which the guilty person was able to obtain the rocks, or other objects, and then thrown them at the players.”
Blatter joined those resorting to social media to express their outrage.
“Intolerable that a fan causes a player’s death. Stop the violence. My emotional thoughts go to Albert Ebosse’s family. RIP,” the Fifa president wrote on twitter.
The FAF said it was planning further action, including the expulsion of the club at fault “from all competitions”.
The Algerian league is holding an extraordinary meeting where management from both clubs and officials at Saturday’s match will be interviewed.
Algerian daily El Watan suggested “this tragedy surprises nobody”.
It explained: “For years now violence has crept into the stadiums and spills over sometimes onto the streets, bringing with it a climate of fear and insecurity in our cities.”
The newspaper linked the rise in violence to Islamist extremists “who train Algerian youth in terror and horror”.
Another daily, Liberte, suggested Saturday’s tragic incident “could have happened in any Algerian stadium” as “violence is general and systematic”.
The El Khabar daily argued that Ebosse’s death meant “Algeria was not qualified to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations” in place of Libya.
“How can we protect the thousands of guests at the Nations Cup if the Confederation of African Football give Algeria the right to stage this competition?” the paper asked.
Ebosse will be remembered by a minute’s silence with players’ wearing black armbands in all matches this Sunday staged in his country of birth, the Cameroon players union announced.
The FAF and league announced they were donating almost 100,000 euros to Ebosse’s family. The family will also receive his salary until the end of his contract with Kabylie.
Ebosse joined Kabylie in 2013, reaching the Algeria Cup final last season with his 17-goal haul helping the side finish second in the league.