Who said that Algerian football was bathed in serenity? After an African Cup of Nations (CAN) in Cameroon marked by elimination in the first round, then a failure against the Cameroonian Indomitable Lions during the qualifying play-off for the World Cup in Qatar (1-0, 1-2) , to which were added the fiery declarations of the Algerian coach, Djamel Belmadi, on the Gambian referee Bakary Gassama, tensions are felt far from the field. And it is Abderrezak Sebgag and Charaf-Eddine Amara who occupy the main roles.
The latest episode in the struggle between these two influential personalities has not gone unnoticed. As good actors, the Minister of Sports and the President of the Algerian Football Federation, who is also the CEO of the Madar holding, took care to choose their scene. The place ? The mythical 5-July stadium in Algiers, freshly renovated as part of the African Nations Championship (Chan) that Algeria will organize in January 2023. The pretext? A friendly international match between the under-23 selections of Algeria and of Palestine. A poster not quite like the others, because the Algerian state is among those who most support the Palestinian cause.
Algeria: Charaf-Eddine Amara, « Mister tobacco » at the head of the football federation
As Minister of Sports, Sebgag had blocked his Sunday agenda to attend the match in the company of several thousand of his compatriots. But after getting out of his company car and taking a few steps, Sebgag was informed that Charaf-Eddine Amara, as FAF president, was also at the stadium. A presence deemed unacceptable by the member of the government, who turned on his heels immediately to leave the premises and return home. « Sebgag, but also most of his ministry, believe that Amara had nothing to do with the stadium, because none of them still consider him as president of the federation », summarizes a journalist closely following the deterioration of relations between the two men. After having greeted the players of the two teams, Amara, meanwhile, attended from the stand of honor the match won by the Algerians (3-1).
The minister’s attitude would have been resented at the highest level of the state, due to the particular context in which the scene took place. Sebgag, he would not understand why Amara is still in charge within the Algerian Federation. He is not the only one. Two days after the elimination of Algeria by Cameroon in Blida, the leader announced his resignation on March 31, as well as that of the federal office of the FAF, explaining then that the transition would be ensured by Mohamed Maouche, 86, responsible for convening the next elective general meeting within sixty days. But on April 3, during the meeting of the federal office for the transfer of power, Amara realized that not all of its members intended to resign. And, after a memorable back-pedalling session, the former president of CR Bélouizdad had changed his mind, believing that his resignation could only be confirmed by the general assembly which had elected him a year earlier.
Algeria: between the Belmadi case and the real false start of Amara, the crisis continues at the football federation
However, according to the body’s statutes, each of its members can resign whenever they wish, without being obliged of pass before the elective GA. “A simple registered letter addressed to the Secretary General is sufficient. The person resigning must also be up to date with his contributions. If these conditions are met, he can leave, explains a close friend of the federation. But Amara did not take any of these steps and still considers himself the president of the FAF. However, the federal bureau is no longer in a state to exist legally, since 8 of its 13 members have resigned, and at least 7 are needed.” In this context, it is therefore impossible for the federal bureau to convene a ordinary, extraordinary or even elective general meeting. “We are in a real stalemate, and that is what irritates the Minister of Sports, who, at first, was very little to talk about the affairs that shake the federation. »
In other words, Abderrezak Sebgag – and no doubt the entire government with him – dreams every night that Amara empties the drawers of his office in the Dely Brahim district of Algiers, and that the FAF acquires as soon as possible a new boss. But the minister cannot say it too loudly, since this would be considered by Fifa as a characteristic interference of political power in the affairs of football. And the government of world football hates this type of interference: Kenya and Zimbabwe have just found out the hard way, by being excluded from qualifying for CAN 2023, which was to start at the beginning of June, after Fifa has suspended their federation.
In Algeria, we have fun or we are sorry, as you choose, to see the two men flexing their muscles. With a certain form of fatalism, a former club manager thus summarizes the situation, also on condition of anonymity, the subject being considered sensitive… “Amara has not done much for local football. He is not a man of the seraglio, he was elected because the political power wanted him to be. And most of the members of the federal office that Amara did not choose are more concerned with their own interests. As for Sebgag, the Algerians do not have a high regard for him. At least, on this point, there is match bad…