The decision by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to disqualify Hani Abou-Reida from upcoming elections has been deemed contrary to the association’s rules and has resulted in rumours that Egypt could be suspended from football’s international body, FIFA.
Abou-Reida was disqualified from running for chairman of the EFA in upcoming elections because he has served two consecutive terms as an EFA official. His consecutive terms, according to the EFA appeals committee, makes him ineligible for election.
However the rule limiting appointments within the EFA to two consecutive turns was recently changed and approved by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The new law stipulates a candidate may not run for a third consecutive term if he was elected twice consecutively. Abou-Reida however, was appointed once and elected the second time, making his attempt at a third term technically legal.
EFA public relations manager Alaa Abdelaziz said two of the current contenders for the position of chairman, Ihab Saleh and Osama Khalil, filed the initial objection to Abou-Reida’s eligibility to the EFA appeals committee.
According to Abdelaziz, the appeals committee based their decision on a similar ruling made by the Egyptian Swimming Federation (ESF) which had disqualified Yasser Idris from elections. “But the appeals committee forgot that later on, Idris filed an appeal and won the case,” Abdelaziz said. “Now Idris is the Chairman of the Egyptian Swimming Federation,” he added. Abdelaziz concluded that the appeals committee had not adhered to the EFA rulebook.
The EFA appeals committee is part of the state council, a government arbitration body. FIFA rules explicitly forbid government intervention in matters of national football, sparking rumours Egypt could be suspended from the body. A spokesperson FIFA said it was monitoring the country, but refused to comment on whether it was considering suspending Egypt over Abou-Reida’s disqualification, who is himself a FIFA executive committee member.
Suspending Egypt’s football activities would mean that Egyptian teams would be barred from playing overseas and from having national leagues.
Al-Ahly fans hold Abou-Reida responsible for the February Port Said Massacre in which 70 Al-Ahly supporters were killed following a match against Al-Masry.
Following the violence, EFA’s general assembly imposed a two year ban was on the Port Said club Al-Masry. However the court of arbitration for sport (CAS) overturned the ban after the EFA failed to send a representative for a hearing held by the court. Al-Ahly fans also believe Abou-Reida conspired with the EFA to overturn the ban on his home team.
FIFA also rebuked the government for getting involved, after the former interim prime minister Kamal Ghansouri temporarily suspended all football matches in Egypt due to the violence.
It is under this premise that Ultras Ahlawy Al-Ahly fans stormed the EFA building on Sunday. The fans demanded a suspension of all domestic football until the perpetrators of the Port Said Massacre were brought to justice. The fans also attacked their team headquarters in Nasr City, where minor conflicts with players occurred.
Continuing their corruption crusade, the Ultras stormed the Media Production City (MPC) building in Cairo on Tuesday in an attempt to denounce Ahmed Shobeir and Medhat Shalaby, two television presenters known for their disdain of the Ultras. Neither of the presenters were in the building at the time and Shobeir’s programme was cancelled, while security forces closed down both the official Al-Ahly and Modern TV channels.