Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
3 - 9 August 2000
Issue No. 493
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

 
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Egyptian sports shakes up

By Abeer Anwar

It has been a long wait for many on the local sports scene; 50 years, to be exact. But today, after what seems to have been a marathon of time, the change has finally come.

Ending much anticipation and desire, Minister of Youth Dr Alieddin Hilal, announced the new sports statute; a new system that organises sports administration in Egypt, reorganises the duties and system of work in the Olympic Committee, sports federations, and clubs.

A decree long in the workings -- under the diligent pens of committee members Abdel-Aziz El-Shafei, Dr Lutfi El-Qilini, and Essam Abdel-Moneim -- it will take effect at the beginning of October.

At that point, the duties of the Egyptian Olympic Committee(EOC) will be expanded -- giving the organisation more control over local sports, with a specific, obligatory focus on the monitoring of drug abuse amongst athletes.

The decree also incorporates the restructuring of the EOC, with the general assembly being shrunk to consist of 11 members rather than 24 -- all of whom are required to be either international coaches, players, or referees.

Part of the announcement included a clause thus far foreign to the local scene; that no individual can hold leadership, or be a committee member, of the EOC, or any federation or board, for more than two rounds(eight years.) Furthermore, it shattered the dreams of some sports fanatics -- who had conjured up vision of serving as members on two sports governing bodies; that too is against the rules.

The change was much needed and the desire for it high. But it gets even harsher -- to the point, maybe, of some people's request to reverse: Members of sports federations -- and their immediate families -- are not allowed to have shops/companies etc. dealing with, or selling products related to, that sport. And to top it all off, playing the sport for their clubs or teams -- even if just seasonal friendlies -- is also out of the new set bounds.

What was a definite plus, however, was the high stress placed on the role of women in sports. In an effort to help promote women in sports, the decree states that if a woman nominates herself in the elections of any federation, and fails to make the final cut, it is the minister of youth's right to nominate her to the board of the federation.

Other changes included the cancellation of the general manager position -- which was replaced by the executive manager and the general secretary, who is elected through the general assembly and not up for public nomination.

They are changes which, though many and seemingly extreme, are definitely much needed. Local sports have seen 50 years of stagnant waters; a little change, once can safely assume, can do nothing but help.


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