Al-Ahram Weekly Online   10 - 16 June 2010
Issue No. 1002
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

El-Hadari to fight back

Egypt's famed goalkeeper Essam El-Hadari says he is not thinking about retiring despite his four-month suspension, reports Inas Mazhar

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Essam El-Hadari

El-Hadari said that during the next four months he and FC Sion of Switzerland will appeal to the Swiss Federal Court, according to Swiss laws.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had rendered its final decision in the arbitration between Sion, El-Hadari, FIFA and the Egyptian football club Ahli.

In June 2008, Ahli filed a claim at FIFA arguing that El-Hadari, who fled from Ahli to Sion a few months earlier, had breached his contract unilaterally and that Sion had induced the player to act in such manner. The Egyptian club requested FIFA to impose sanctions and to order financial compensation in its favour.

On 16 April 2009 the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) ordered El-Hadari to pay 900,000 euros to Ahli and decided that Sion be jointly liable for such payment.

Furthermore, the DRC imposed a four-month suspension against the player and prevented Sion from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the next two transfer periods.

On 18 June 2009 Sion and El-Hadari each filed an appeal with the CAS in order to request the annulment of the FIFA decision.

Both appellants requested that the execution of the FIFA decision be stayed until the end of the arbitration procedure. These requests were granted by the CAS on 7 July 2009 which allowed the Egyptian national team goalkeeper to play with the Pharaohs at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June of last year and the World Cup qualifiers, in addition to playing with his club Ismaili in the national league.

Last week, the CAS stated that the appeal by Sion was inadmissible. El-Hadari's appeal was partially upheld and the CAS reduced the financial compensation for breach of contract to $796,500. However, the four-month sporting sanction imposed on the player was confirmed.

The amount was fixed taking into account several criteria, the most important being the evaluation of the transfer fee Ahli was deprived of because of the breach of contract by the player. Being jointly liable for the payment of that amount, Sion benefits indirectly from the reduction.

The four-month suspension, which has not yet been served by the player, will come into effect at the beginning of next season, meaning that El-Hadari will miss Egypt's two 2012 qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations, against Sierra Leone in September this year and Niger in October.

Perhaps shaken by the decision, El-Hadari made a walloping error in the semi- final of the Egyptian FA Cup. With his club Ismaili and Haras Al-Hedoud tied at 1-1 late in the game, El-Hadari embarrassingly let in a weak shot through the legs which gifted Haras a 2-1 victory and a place in the final against Ahli.

El-Hadari's suspension, which includes playing for club and country, will most likely affect his immediate future. Al-Mareekh of Sudan and Lierse of Belgium were reported to have made offers to the keeper but before the suspension was announced.

Lierse is owned by Egyptian businessman Maged Sami, who also owns Egyptian outfit Wadi Degla. Both were promoted this year to the first division of their respective leagues.

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