Players for crowned Cairo soccer team Al Zamalek S have filed a complaint with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) that they have not been paid since October of last year, according to Egyptian website FilGoal.com.
The complaint adds to the clubs mounting financial and other problems. Zamalek faces sanctioning that could include a ban on participation in African championships for several years after militant supporters of the club invaded the pitch earlier this month during an African match against Tunisia’s Club Africain.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is scheduled to meet in Johannesburg later this month to discuss what punishment it will mete out to Zamalek, which is also responsible for damages to Cairo International Stadium.
Zamalek like other Egyptian Premier League clubs is financially troubled as a result of a three-month suspension of professional soccer matches, concern about continued government support and a loss of private sector sponsorship.
The Egyptian military reluctantly agreed last week to a resumption of matches on April 13 after clubs warned that a continued suspension of the league would spark their bankruptcy. Matches were banned since January 24 on the eve of mass anti-government protests that forces Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign after 30 years on office.
The Egyptian interior ministry exacerbated the financial malaise of Zamalek and other clubs by insisting this weekend that they accept responsibility for security at matches. Clubs rejected the demand, arguing that they would have to hire private security personnel while security was a responsibility of the police rather than of the clubs.
“It’s not like some reports claimed that they (the players) want to terminate their contracts. The players are just trying to have their late wages. We are trying by any means possible to make that happen,” FilGoal quoted Zamalek chairman Galal Ibrahim as saying.
“I present the players because I am the captain. I am not leading a revolt here. Players asked me to do something more than once and I kept urging them to be patient, but the same problem is occurring over and over without being resolved, so I had to take action. I hope that those who criticize me would answer this; is it possible for someone who hasn’t been paid his regular salary for seven months to remain silent? Zamalek captain Abdul-Wahed Al-Sayed said.
Al-Sayed said the players filed their complaint following several meetings with the Zamalek board that failed to produce a solution.
“What’s amazing is that the board paid some players their salaries, while other received nothing,” Al Sayed said.