Sunday,24 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1365, (19 - 25 October 2017)
Sunday,24 February, 2019
Issue 1365, (19 - 25 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

White Castle shaken

Zamalek might pull out of the league. For a different reason, FIFA might impose punitive measures on the club. Inas Mazhar reports on the squad’s wild week



It was not a good week for Zamalek. The ever controversial president of the Egyptian powerhouse football club Mortada Mansour announced the club was pulling out of the national league competition. At almost the same time, FIFA took the club off guard, threatening to impose a hefty fine, a deduction in league points and even relegation for reportedly failing to pay outstanding dues owed a Brazilian player.

On Friday, following Zamalek’s 1-1 draw with lowly Tanta in Mehalla Stadiumو Mansour announced that the club was pulling out of the competition because of refereeing bias. Specifically, Mansour accused the referee of awarding two penalties to Tanta that he deemed wrong decisions. TV replays showed the penalties – one which was converted – dubious at best.

The stalemate, Zamalek’s third draw in five matches, saw them slip to fifth in the table with nine points, four behind leaders Masri. Tanta are ninth on six points.

It is the 12th time Zamalek threatened to leave the domestic competition, almost all of them for the same reason, during Mansour’s era as president which began in 2014. In all the incidences, Zamalek did a U-turn and stayed in the competition.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has not responded to Mansour’s decision. It did say it will take action if Zamalek fail to show up for their next match in Round 6 next week.

Head of the Refereeing Committee and EFA board member Essam Abdel-Fattah said this was not the first time Mansour had threatened to pull out from the league and to complain about referees. “Referees are human beings and mistakes can occur,” Abdel-Fattah said. “The Zamalek president can’t accuse referees of bias. Mistakes happen in other matches as well. I know there are mistakes but this doesn’t mean that our referees are biased towards certain clubs. He wants angels and we don’t have angels because these are the only ones who are flawless,” he said.

While Mansour was busy complaining and threatening, FIFA sent the club a letter warning that Zamalek could be facing stiff punitive measures for failing to pay its Brazilian player all his dues.

In the letter, sent via the EFA, FIFA said it had learnt that Zamalek have not acted in accordance with the Arbitral Award passed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on 20 September 2016 regarding the dispute between the club and its former player Ricardo Alves Fernandes. “This would appear to be a violation of Article 64 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and as such, it will be the subject of an investigation by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee”, the letter said.

“In this regard, we wish to inform you and Zamalek club that the case will be submitted to a member of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee for evaluation in accordance with Article 78 par. 2 of the FDC so that the disciplinary measures (fine, deduction of points, relegation to a lower league) may be imposed on the club.

“With this in mind, we hereby urge Zamalek club to pay immediately to the player Ricardo Alves Fernandes the following outstanding amounts and send us a copy of proof of payment:

- $63,200 and LE11,400 as outstanding remuneration plus 5 per cent interest, to be calculated in accordance with the decision passed by the Dispute Resolution chamber on 10 April 2015.

- $425,000 as compensation for breach of contract plus 5 per cent interest to be calculated in accordance with the decision passed by the Dispute Resolution chamber on 10 April 2015.

- 4,000 Swiss francs as a contribution towards its legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with the arbitration proceedings.

The letter added that should Zamalek pay all outstanding amounts by 26 October 2017 at the latest and send FIFA copies of proof of payment by the same deadline, the case will not be submitted to a member of the Disciplinary Committee and the disciplinary proceedings will be closed.

Should the club fail to submit a statement or pay out the outstanding amounts by the specified deadline, the matter will be submitted to a member of the Disciplinary Committee for consideration and a formal decision will be taken within the week after the expiry of the set deadline. The decision will be passed based on the file in its possession.

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