Journalist accuses Algerian footballer of assault after World Cup exit

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Witnesses say Algerian footballer Rafik Saïfi slapped Asma Halifi, a woman journalist from his home country with whom he has had a year-long feud, after Algeria's defeat by the United States on Wednesday evening. Halifi filed a complaint with FIFA regarding the assault.

The incident was witnessed by fellow journalist Richard Connelly of the BBC World Service. He said that "Rafik Saifi slapped the face of journalist Asma Halifi. She hit him back as a reflex. He then threw a bottle of sports drink which missed and had to be restrained from attacking her again."

Speaking about the attack, Halifi said that she intends to make a complaint to the police and to FIFA, the world governing board of football. She also spoke about the on-going dispute between herself and Saifi. The footballer objected to an interview she had translated for Competition, an Algerian newspaper, she told the BBC.

The Algerian Football Federation had no comment to make about the incident. FIFA confirmed that it had received Halifi's complaint and would investigate.

Algeria were making their third and final appearance at the FIFA World Cup. They drew in Group C along with England, Slovenia and the United States but failed to make it past the group stage.

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