Libya FA Bans National Women's Football Team From Attending Tournament In Germany
Libya's int'l women's football team, already under threat from religious extremists, "has been banned from taking part in a major tournament next week by the country's sporting authorities," according to Chris Stephen of the London GUARDIAN. Libya's FA told the team that it could not fly to Germany on Saturday, "citing concerns that it takes place within the holy month of Ramadan." Midfielder Hadhoum el-Alabed said, "The federation said you cannot play in Germany because of the need for fasting. We want to go but they say you cannot go." Libya had been due to play teams from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia and Germany in Discover Football, "a tournament funded by the German government." El-Alabed, who played in Liverpool while earning a Phd in sports science, said that "the ban had shattered hopes that the fall of Gaddafi would bring social change." Threats from Islamist radicals have already forced the team to train in secret, "constantly switching venues and deploying armed guards." Popular Libyan TV preacher Salim Jabar has demanded that "the women's team disband, saying it was against the strictures of Islam." Jabar: "This team consists of tall, good-looking young girls, and that's the last thing this country needs" (GUARDIAN, 7/19).