CAIRO: The Zamalek Club is scheduled to hold its elections on May 29 to choose a new president and board members, after a period marred with instability.
The elections follow significant achievements by most of the club’s sports teams that many attribute to a calm tenure by the current interim board, headed by Mohamed Amer and appointed by the National Sports Council.
Nine candidates are running for president, while another 27 are running for board members.
Former presidents Kamal Darwish, Mamdouh Abbas, Mortada Mansour, are all vying for the president’s seat, competing against Khaled El Qoushy, Abdel Tawab Khalaf, Mahmoud Khaled Fathy, Nasser Metwally Hassanein, Mohamed Bahgat Fekry and Salama El Metwally Hagressy.
Ismail Selim, El-Mandouh El-Husseiny, Raouf Gasser, Ahmed Galal Ibrahim, Hany El-Atal, Hazem Emam, Khaled Latif, Azmy Megahed, Ibrahim Youssef and Ahmed Mortada Mansour are some of the most prominent names running for the board membership.
Mansour had been disqualified from the elections because of his criminal record but was reinstated by the Egyptian State Council earlier this month.
“This is the 19th case I win against Hassan Saqr [head of the National Sports Council], Mansour told the press.
Mansour had spent a year in prison after insulting the head of the state council in 2007.
Last year, a court order canceled the elections after Mansour questioned its legitimacy when he was disqualified.
“Saqr supports Mamdouh Abbas and the state also supports Abbas. They claimed I have a bad reputation although everybody knows that I didn’t profit from my position [as club president]; instead I left the club with LE 4 million earnings, Mansour said.
On the other hand, Ismail Selim and El-Mandouh El-Husseiny who competed against each other in last year’s canceled elections are now joining forces in Kamal Darwish’s roster.
“Last year I couldn’t compete in the same elections with these names, Darwish told Daily News Egypt.
“However, this year, we decided to form what we call the presidents’ roster comprising individuals who are experienced and who can help the club, Darwish said.
“The club is suffering from all aspects as a result of constant change of boards and authoritarian individual decisions during previous administrations.
The administrative structure was destroyed, buildings were pulled down, players left and others are waiting for their money. Debts are piling up on the club, he explained.
On the other hand, Abbas is counting on his achievements during his previous tenure and his ability to help the club financially at a time when it is in debt.
Abbas’ roster comprises former football team captain Hazem Emam, who is relying on the huge support he enjoys from the members, Raouf Gasser, former club appointed president, Ahmed Galal Ibrahim, Sabry Serag and Hani El-Atal.
“As a roster we are focusing on developing the infrastructure of the club, forming a resources committee and most importantly involving club members in the decision making process and making use of expertise outside the club, Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt.
“The competition this time is very tough especially after the new regulations that dictate that a board is formed of a president and six members, so a lot of prominent names competing for positions like vice president and treasurer [the two positions were eliminated] are now competing for membership, he explained.
Mortada’s roster is, on the other hand, formed of former football player Ibrahim Youssef, his son Ahmed Mortada Mansour, Khaled Latif, George Saad and Diaa Abdel Hady.
Names like Morsi Attallah and Mohamed Amer refused to run in the elections due to conflicts inside the club.
Attallah said failed attempts for reconciliation and holding free and honest elections discouraged him from “responding to members’ and fans’ requests to run in the elections.
Candidates praised the election management committee headed by Hanafy Ryad for its organization and impartiality. However, some complained that a number of employees are taking sides.
Strict measures were taken to guarantee seamless elections like banning TV cameras from covering candidates’ symposiums inside the club and spreading more security personnel inside and at the gates of the club.
Candidates also urged voters to select the president with his roster to avoid future conflicts within the board.
In 2005, members elected Mortada Mansour with Kamal Darwish’s roster, resulting in clashes inside the club and eventually the board was replaced by a temporary one appointed by the National Sports Council.