Algeria is set to come to a decision regarding whether or not its Goalball Paralympic team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will boycott its upcoming game with Israel on Saturday.
President of the Federal Special Needs Committee, Rashid Haddad, has been in “tireless communication” with the minister of youth and sports to discuss the issue as the Algerian delegation arrived in Rio for the official opening of the ceremony yesterday.
Algerian public opinion has been clear on its stance since the draw of the two countries was determined in May. Many fear the game going would mean “normalising relations with Israel.”
The likelihood of a boycott is slim with the Algerian federation recognising the “embarrassment” the decision would cause before the International Olympic Committee which has a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination based on ethnic, religious and ideological grounds.
Last month, Egyptian Olympic judo player Islam El-Shehaby received criticism and praise from the international community for refusing to shake the hand of his Israeli opponent; a move which led him being summoned by the Disciplinary Committee and sent home from the games.