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Category: Middle East and North Africa

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Six years after the Port Said riot, Egypt’s fans return to the stadiums

Supporters are allowed to watch domestic games regularly for the first time since 2012 but they have to give details to the security services – and chanting could be monitoredWhen Egyptian spectators returned to the stands for a match between Zamalek F…

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Mohamed Salah blames Egypt’s FA for hampering World Cup preparations

Liverpool star says celebrities were among ‘many disturbances’ at team’s Chechen training baseThe Liverpool and Egypt footballer Mohamed Salah has accused the Egyptian Football Association of hampering the country’s World Cup preparations in Russia ear…

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Premier League​ games ‘screened illegally via Saudi satellite firm’

UK body representing top 20 clubs says it has compelling evidence of year-long piracy operationA Saudi government-owned satellite firm is linked to the illegal screening of Premier League football matches across the Middle East and north Africa, the Pr…

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Qatar 2022 bid team ‘sabotaged World Cup rivals’

Whistleblower tells Sunday Times that PR agency and former CIA operatives spread fake propagandaThe Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team broke Fifa rules by running a secret campaign to sabotage their rivals for the tournament, it has been claimed. The claims…

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Football and fat fees: questions raised over funding of sporting conference

Was ‘sports integrity’ event that repeatedly questioned 2022 World Cup decision funded by Qatar rivals?After Russia’s wildly successful World Cup, the eyes of the sporting world have turned to the next host, Qatar – and a recent event in London gave an…

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Saudi woman to drive Formula One car to mark end of ban

Aseel Al Hamad to take lap of Le Castellet circuit ahead of French Grand PrixAseel Al Hamad is to make a further breakthrough for Saudi Arabian women by driving a Formula One car ahead of the French Grand Prix. The lap of the Le Castellet circuit comes…

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Iran’s female football supporters make history at World Cup stadium screening

Ban on attending sporting events at stadiums lifted to allow women in Tehran to watch Iran v SpainIran’s female football supporters have made history in Tehran – for the first time in 37 years they were able to attend a sporting event in the Azadi stad…

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‘The fact we exist is huge’: Iran’s women plotting course to world stage

Twelve years ago Kat Khosrowyar arrived in Iran on holiday. Now she’s driving a revolution in women’s football thereTo say things have changed for women’s football in Iran since Katayoun Khosrowyar first arrived in the country more than 12 years ago wo…

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A win against England would put Arab spring in Tunisia’s step

National side to play in the World Cup for first time since jasmine revolutionTaher Lwati sat outside a toyshop on one of the quiet avenues that crisscross central Tunis, soaking up the warm evening air and ruminating on the chances of an unlikely foot…

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World Cup opener guest list set to be largely ex-Soviet affair

Kremlin’s list of ceremony invitees includes central Asian autocrats plus Saudi prince Mohammed bin SalmanVladimir Putin’s strained ties with leaders across the western world means the audience of presidents and prime ministers for the World Cup opener…

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Iran coach Queiroz demands apology as Nike refuse to supply World Cup boots

• ‘This arrogant conduct against 23 boys is absolutely ridiculous’• President Trump reimposed sanctions against Iran in MayThe Iran head coach, Carlos Queiroz, has demanded an apology from Nike after the US sportswear firm said it could not supply the …

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Roman Abramovich ‘granted Israeli citizenship’

Russia-born Chelsea FC owner to move to Tel Aviv after problems renewing UK visa, Israeli media reportsRoman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, has been granted Israeli citizenship and will move to Tel Aviv, according to local …

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Mo Salah scores again as boots enter British Museum collection

Donation of record-breaking Liverpool player’s mint green footwear part of Egypt projectA pair of Mohamed Salah’s mint green football boots are to enter the collection of the British Museum, to be displayed next to ancient Egyptian sandals in a gallery…

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Israeli football club renames itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem after ‘courageous’ president

Six-time Premier League champion have ‘greatest love’ for TrumpMove made after president moves US embassy to JerusalemAs Jerusalem prepares for the inauguration of its new US embassy on Monday, the city’s best football team has announced it is renaming…

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Child’s tears spark weightlifting protest that raises bar for Iran’s sportswomen

Officials are finally allowing females to compete after the banning of two young girls caused global embarrassmentIf you are good at weightlifting in Iran, you can become as rich as a Premier League footballer. The country boasts 300 professional weigh…

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Qatar stadium where UK worker died was ‘downright dangerous’

British coroner says Zac Cox given substandard equipment by managers at World Cup venueThe only western construction worker killed in the building of World Cup stadiums in Qatar was provided with substandard equipment by managers who should have known …

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The brutal world of sheep fighting: the illegal sport beloved by Algeria’s angry young men

Algeria’s ‘lost generation’ has been shaped by years of conflict, unemployment and state repression. Sheep fighting offers an arena where men can escape the constant supervision of the state. By Hannah Rae ArmstrongLast August in Algiers, one week befo…

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Iran furious as athletes miss out on Winter Olympics smartphones

Row after Iranian Olympians in South Korea were not given gift of latest Samsung handsetsIran has summoned South Korea’s envoy after its athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics were not included in a giveaway of Samsung smartphones, apparently beca…

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Saudi football stadium welcomes women for first time

Al-Ahli v Al-Batin match at Jeddah stadium makes history as first to allow women to sit in designated family standsSaudi women have attended a football match in Saudi Arabia for the first time, as part of reforms spearheaded by the kingdom’s crown prin…

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Omani football fans injured as stadium’s glass barrier breaks

About 40 people hurt during celebrations following Oman’s victory over United Arab Emirates in Gulf Cup final in KuwaitAlmost 40 football fans from Oman have been injured in Kuwait after a glass barrier broke during celebrations following the country’s…