Hold Algeria FA Responsible Should Any Harm Befall FIFA Referee Papa Gassama – Gambia FA Raises The Alarm
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By Amaechi Agbo
The Gambia Football Federation, GFF have raised alarm over security concerns for its FIFA Referee, Mr Bakary Papa Gassama over comments credited to Algeria national team Coach, Mr. Djamel Belmadi.
Ever since their elimination from the World Cup play-offs to Cameroon, Algerian football authorities and media have been peddling unfounded theories about Gassama’s handling of the match. No one but the Algerian football authorities found fault with the referee who won the African best referee award three times in a row.
But according to respected media Ade Divine, the Algerian coach’s recent words regarding Gassama have not gone unnoticed and many international journalists, notably Cherif Sadio, have accused him of inciting violence. Others have termed his words xenophobic.
During a controversial media outing Sunday, Coach Belmadi said:
“I met him (Gassama) at the airport in Turkey. I could not stay indifferent seeing him sit comfortably on a sofa taking café and mille-feuille. I had to empty my bag and tell him who he is. I’m not saying we kill him but we cannot leave him in peace.”
The GFF in a statement on Wednesday stated that the safety of Referee Gassama is a huge concern as Algeria Football Federation as well as Algerians have continued to make unguarded comments about the referee after he handled the 2-1 2022 World Cup play-off defeat against Cameroon on March 29th.
“The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) wishes to inform its stakeholders and the general public that it has been following with grave concern the sustained verbal attacks launched against the person of FIFA Gambian Referee, Mr. Bakary Papa Gassama, by Algerian nationals through the various forms of media, ever since he officiated Algeria’s 2-1 home defeat to Cameroon in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers played on the 29th March, 2022.
“The Federation has lodged a formal complaint to the Algerian Football Federation on the matter, and has formally requested FIFA and CAF to open investigations and disciplinary proceedings against the Head Coach of the Algeria National Football Team Mr. Djamel Belmadi for his remarks on a video clip and on an Algerian Television, the statement started.
The GFF consequently asked the Algeria Football authority to tender a public statement condemning Mr Belmadi’s comments and the verbal attacks by the Algerians against Gassama.
“Based on the foregoing, we’ve also asked the Algerian federation to make a public statement condemning the actions of Mr. Belmadi and all the verbal attacks against Mr. Gassama by Algerians and take all necessary precautions to restrain their officials and nationals from making any further negative remarks and threats against the person of Mr. Gassama.’
The GFF further added that failure to do as they (GFF) had requested, the Algeria Football Federation should be held liable for whatever harms that may befall Mr Gassama.
“Otherwise, their federation will be held responsible and complicit for any harm which may happen to him.
“In conclusion, the GFF wishes to assure that they are in constant contact with Papa, and that all security precautions are in place to keep him away from harm’s way when he returns home from an overseas assignment.”