CAIRO - Egyptians Al Ahly decided on Monday to suspend Ahmed Abdul Zaher from next month's FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco after he celebrated a goal in the African Champions League with a four-finger sign, sources said.
CAIRO – Egyptians Al Ahly decided on Monday to suspend Ahmed Abdul Zaher from next month’s FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco after he celebrated a goal in the African Champions League with a four-finger sign, sources said.
The sign, called Rabaa (four) in Arabic, has been associated with the crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square on August 14.
Hundreds of people were killed in clashes when security forces stormed Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares in the Egyptian capital to disperse sit-ins by Morsi supporters who rejected his ouster by the army in July.
On Sunday, Al Ahly won an eighth African Champions League trophy when they beat Orlando Pirates of South Africa 2-0 in the second leg of the final in Cairo.
Abdul Zaher scored the second goal and celebrated it by flashing the four-finger sign.
Members of Al Ahly’s football committee told AFP that the panel’s decision to suspend him from the tournament in Morocco will be confirmed Tuesday by the club’s board.
Egypt’s minister of state for sports Taher Abu Zeid said in a statement that he “is expecting” the nation’s football federation to “suspend and fine Abdul Zaher the way Kung Fu player Mohamed Youssef was”.
Youssef has been banned by the Egyptian Kung Fu Association from participating in international Kung Fu championships for two years after he wore a t-shirt with the four-finger sign at a tournament in Russia last month.
Sources meanwhile say Al Ahly’s star player Mohamed Aboutrika, also a known Islamist sympathiser, missed the medals ceremony after the match on Sunday against Orlando Pirates.
They said he was searching in his locker for a t-shirt with number 72 on it, representing the number of people killed in clashes in the February 2012 stadium riot in Port Said.
The riot had erupted when fans of Al-Masry Club of Port Said clashed with Al Ahly supporters.