Algeria made an official apology to Iraq on Monday, following the chants of local Algerian fans in the name of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein during a match between the Iraqi Air Force football club and USM Alger on Sunday, forcing the Iraqi team to withdraw mid-match.
The Olympic Algerian committee said in a statement that “the solidarity and friendship between the two nations cannot be affected by the behaviors of some supporters.”
The Algerian minister of youth and sports reassured in a press conference that the chants are “an incident that cannot affect the relationship between the two countries.”
The dramatic turn of events took place during the second round return leg of Arab Champions League match, which was halted at the 75th minute when Algerian fans chanted the name of Saddam Hussein while their team was leading 2-0.
The Iraqis said they decided to halt their match and leave the pitch after they heard sectarian slogans and chants being shouted at them from the Algerian stands. A majority of the players and officials from the Iraqi Air Force team, also known as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, hail from Karbala.
The Emirati referee officiating the match waited for 15 minutes then announced the end of the game.
The first leg also ended with an Algerian victory by 1-0.
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