Hassan Mustafa, who represents Egypt's current bid to host the 2017 Mediterranean Games, blamed last week’s violent clashes in Cairo for Alexandria’s loss of the bid to Spain’s Tarragona.
“Our file enjoyed strong support before the bloody events on Sunday,” Mustafa, president of the International Handball Federation, told Ahly television on Sunday. “We did our best to explain that Egypt was safe [following the January revolution] and that the media was exaggerating the situation.”
Spanish city Tarragona won 36 ballots to Alexandria’s 34 in Saturday’s vote, denying Egypt’s second city the chance to host the event for the second time since 1951.
“Our arguments were of no avail after the bloody clashes that took place in Maspero last week,” Mustafa said.
At least 26 people were killed and more than 300 injured in clashes between military personnel and Coptic protesters in Cairo’s Maspero district on 9 October. Egypt’s ruling military council, which has governed the country since February, has ordered a fact-finding committee to investigate the incident.
“To lose by only two votes isn’t that bad, especially when you’re competing with a big country like Spain,” Mustafa concluded.
Mustafa, a former Egyptian Handball Federation President and well-known sports icon, had been chosen by a government-appointed organising committee to represent Alexandria’s bid to host the games.