By Safaa Kasraoui
By Safaa Kasraoui
Rabat – Hossam El Badry, the Head Coach of Egyptian football team El-Ahly, refused to attend a pre-match press conference held in Casablanca on Tuesday due to the presence of reporters from Qatari-owned network beIN Sports.
During Monday’s pre-match conference ahead of the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Champions League game between Al-Ahly and Moroccan team Wydad, El Badry criticized the attendance of reporters from beIN Sports, saying that he could not speak about the game while they were present.
The incident began when a beIN Sports reporter put a microphone with a beIN Sports logo on the table. El Badry immediately stood up from his chair, asking the reporter to remove the beIN Sports microphone, but the reporter refused.
The atmosphere in the press room became heated because reporters did not agree with his request. The Egyptian coach started to get angry, while reporters asked him to calm down.
Egypt is one of several Arab countries which severed ties with Qatar early in May for allegations of supporting Islamist groups and undermining their security. As a result, an embargo was imposed on Qatar. beIN Sports and other Qatari-run news outlets have been suspended from reporting in these countries.
One Moroccan reporter told the coach that El Badry’s politically-motivated request was irrelevant. “You are in Morocco, not Egypt […] your standpoint concerning Egypt and Qatar’s political tensions should not be shared here.”
The coach replied that since he is Egyptian, he is concerned about any decision undertaken by his country, adding the reporter would act the same way in the same situation. “If Morocco took any [similar] decision concerning any matter, you would then understand why I am acting this way.”
Following an intense debate between the coach, his assistant and Moroccan reporters, El Badry eventually gave his statements in the presence of the beIN Sports reporters, but the issue did not stop here.
While he was giving his statments, a beIN reporter tried to fix the microphone, an action which angered the coach, who said “Don’t you dare to touch my hand.”
The reporter then claimed that El Badry was trying to hide beIN Sports logo on purpose.
Later on in the day El Ahly lost 0-2 to Morocco’s Wydad in the fourth round of CAF’s Champions League game held in Casablanca’s Mohammed V stadium.