LAUSANNE, November 16, 2017 - Algeria national team coach Rabah Madjer has verbally attacked local radio journalist Maamar Djebbour during a press conference following Algeria’s 3-0 friendly win against the Central African Republic on November 14, calling him “the enemy of the national team”.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the Algerian football federation sacked Lucas Alcaraz and appointed Madjer for his fourth term at the helm of the national team on October 18 (after stints in 1994-1995, 1999, 2001-2002). He drew with Nigeria 1-1 in the last game of qualification before beating Central African Republic in a friendly encounter.
In the post-match press conference, Djebbour, a journalist at “Radio Chaine trois”, addressed his question to captain Riad Mahrez: “You’ve been in this team for a while and I would like to get back to one aspect. How can you explain today the difficulty in producing a good quality of football? [The team] were good at it for one year and a half and now you lost it.”
Madjer did not even allow his player to reply and started attacking the journalist in the press conference: “You are the enemy of the national team, you are the enemy of the national team, and I say it in front of everyone: if I have respect to you (pointing at the other journalists present), I have none for you (pointing at Djebbour). Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!!!” he yelled. During the tirade, Djebour replied: “You don’t accept criticism,” before Madjer ended his attack by asking the 54 years old to leave his post: “Retire now and leave the place for young journalists.”
An angry Djebbour hit back at the coach in a loud voice: “I have a responsibility; you are the national team coach and you have to respond to our questions. You don’t accept criticism and we are not here to be your guardian. Who are you to call me an enemy?!”
In the wake of this incident, the Association of Algerian Sports Journalists (AJSA) issued a statement denouncing the attack on the journalist:
“The Association of Algerian Sports Journalists was surprised by the attitude of the national team coach Rabah Madjer during his press conference on 14 November 2017, when Maamar Djebbour, a radio journalist from Chaine Trois, has asked a technical question to the team captain Riad Mahrez.
Mr. Rabah Madjer, who was presumably under pressure, prevented Riad Mahrez from answering and abused the journalist with unworthy words that should have not been addressed in these circumstances.
The AJSA who is loyal to its course of action, respected the freedom of speech. Therefore, it asks the national team coach to have a better attitude in the future regarding giving the information for journalists, something he was not able to do on Tuesday evening during his violent reaction that contradicts the sports ethics and serene relations that should prevail between the two parties.
In these moment, the AJSA asks all parties to go back to serenity given the difficult the situation that the national team and Algerian football are going through.”
AIPS condemns the incident that happened with Mr. Djebbour and expresses its solidarity with him, and stresses on the right of freedom of speech to all the journalists around the world.