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James Corbett, Inside World Football


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Egyptian Protests Force First Soccer Resignations

Egyptian mass protests that earlier this month overthrew President Hosni Mubarak have forced the country’s first soccer resignations.

Angry fans demonstrated outside the headquarters of Ittihad Al Skandarya, the port city of Alexandria’s main team, demanding that board reshuffle because of the club’s poor performance.

The protests prompted club president Mohamed Moselhi and three other board members to resign.

"Moselhi, vice president Ali Seif, Ashraf Sedki and Zeinab Mahmoud have already quit," Ittihad general manger Gasser Mounir told Egyptian soccer website FilGoal.com.

Ittihad is languishing at the bottom of the Egyptian Premier League, which has been suspended since late January because of the mass protests that virtually paralyzed Egypt for much of February.

The resignations are likely to be followed by further changes in the top management of Egyptian soccer. Egyptian national coach Hassan Shehata and Ibrahim and Hossam Hassan, members of the board of storied Cairo club Al Zamalek SC, also face mounting calls for their resignations because of their support for the ousted Egyptian president.

Egyptian state prosecutor Abdul Mejid Mahmoud is investigating corruption charges against several other senior figures in Egyptian soccer, including Egyptian Football Association (EFA) president Samir Zaher, whose portfolio includes soccer, and Egyptian national team goalkeeper coach Ahmed Soliman, according to officials, analysts and Egyptian media reports.

Egyptian newspaper Al Dostor quoted officials in the prosecutor’s office as denying that they had seized funds of

Al Ahly SC executives Hassan Hamdy, the chairman of Egypt’s most popular club, who also reportedly heads the advertising department of the government-owned Al Ahram publishing house as well as the EFA’s sponsorship committee, and the club’s deputy chairman Mahmoud al-Khateeb.

The officials said neither executive had as yet been questioned by the prosecutor’s office. They said military police had seized three boxes of documents that Hamdy and Al Ahram editor-in-chief Osama Saraya had allegedly attempted to smuggle out of the editor’s office when they were confronted by publishing house employees who suspected that the boxes contained documents that would prove the two men’s involvement in corruption.

The investigations are part of an anti-corruption campaign being waged by Egypt’s military rulers in response to the demands of the protesters who earlier this month forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign after 30 years in office. The military has detained a number of Mubarak’s senior officials and a prominent businessman on charges of corruption. It has promised to lead Egypt to democracy within six months.

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