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James Corbett, Inside World Football


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Egyptian Soccer Introduces Financial Austerity

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) introducing financial austerity in the wake of the popular uprising that last month toppled President Hosni Mubarak, has announced salary reduction for all its employees.

The reduction comes amid fury about EFA proposals to cap transfer pricing as well as salaries of players and coaches.

The EFA said on its website that no member of its staff would earn more than $2,500, It put the association’s minimum wage at $250. The statement said the reduction was "in line with the spirit of the revolution,” a reference to the mass anti-government protests that recently virtually paralyzed Egypt and forced Mubarak’s departure.

The EFA said it intended to meet with the clubs to agree on a compensation deal for players who play for the national team.

The EFA’s call for austerity has been welcomed by fans but has divided clubs, players and coaches.

Ibrahim Hassan, an outspoken and controversial board member of Al Zamalek SC, one of the most storied and crowned clubs in the Egyptian Premier League, and Amr Zaki, a striker for the club, have publicly rejected the proposal.

“I totally reject this option. Controlling wages and contracts has no place in the world of professional football,” Zaki told Egyptian soccer website FilGoal.com.

The proposal was however welcomed by Nasr Aboul-Hassan, chairman of Ismailia SC, who suggested that all Premier League clubs should introduce a fixed budget for players’ salaries.

“Things cannot be the same in football after the revolution. There must be a limit for the millions spent on footballers by club boards. I suggest that each club should pay a maximum of EGP 20million ($3.4 million) per season on players’ wages,” Aboul-Hassan said.

Ismaili’s ultras, fanatical fans known as the Yellow Dragons, threatened to boycott their team’s matches if the club failed to cap players’ salaries.

Aboul-Hassan’ statement and the Yellow Dragons’ threat has thrown into doubt Ismailia’s negotiations with star midfielder Hosni Abd-Rabou who is reportedly demanding an unprecedented $850,000 in a country where half the population lives off $2 or less a day.

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