Gor Mahia CAF opponents in trouble over fans chant Image-USM
USM Alger in trouble over fans' chant
By Zachary Oguda | Fri 14 Sep, 2018 11:18

Gor Mahia's opponents in the CAF Confederations Cup USM Algers are in trouble after a section of their fans chanted former Iraq President Saddam Hussein's name during Sunday's Arab Club Champions Cup tie against Iraqi side Al Quwa Al Jawiya.

The chants ended with the Iraqi Air Force side walking off the pitch and Algeria's ambassador being summoned by Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs but the club through President Hakim Serrar has insisted that their fans were misunderstood.

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"The songs by our supporters were not mean or insulting. It was just a way for them to honour the Iraqi team through its former president. The match took place in very good conditions. It was all a misunderstanding. The Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) have not contacted us. We took the initiative and explained what happened. It is a banal affair," Serrar told the BBC.

The Iraqi side was losing 2-0 on the night and 3-0 overall and left the pitch with 20 minutes remaining with the president of the Iraqi Football Association Abdelkhaleq Messaoud taking a different view of the events.

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"If UAFA does not make the decision to respect our rights, the Iraqi Federation will withdraw its clubs (from the Arab Champions League). We will not allow the crowd to insult us and our country," he said.

UAFA are yet to publicly comment on the situation but Serrar is expecting the union to act against his club.

"For sure there will be fines for political songs. FIFA bans such singing not just UAFA. The club will accept whatever financial penalties it is given. The problem of political chanting is a national one. We would need another press conference to properly address it. It's a culture. Our supporters will learn the lesson on their own. They should only chant about their own team, not the opposing one. They are independent," he said.

The Iraqi Air Force side is also expected to face sanctions for abandoning the match.

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Zachary Oguda

Twitter: @zaxoguda

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