World Cup 2010 - Algerian slaps female reporter

Eurosport - Wed, 23 Jun 19:48:00 2010

Algeria player Rafik Saifi slapped a female journalist across the face as the aftermath of the USA’s dramatic World Cup victory turned ugly at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday night.

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While walking through the interview zone, Saifi spotted writer Asma Halimi, who works for Algerian newspaper Competition, and struck her with his open hand in front of dozens of witnesses. Halimi responded by striking the player in the mouth.

Saifi then threw a sports drink bottle at a wall in the interview area, as Halimi was ushered away by security staff.

Saifi came on as substitute for the last five minutes of the USA’s 1-0 victory.

“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.

“She was standing there and the guy came here and he hit her,” said Francisco Aguilar Chang, a reporter from Guatemala who witnessed the incident. “Then she hit him back and her nail caught his lip.”

Saifi and Algerian football association officials refused to comment when quizzed by Yahoo! Sports.

The Algerian team has come under heavy criticism in its homeland after a disappointing World Cup in which it finished at the bottom of Group C and was knocked out of the tournament.

When asked if she would launch an official complaint with governing body FIFA and the Algerian FA. Halimi replied: “Of course.”

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Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports / Eurosport

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