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Official: Al Ahly suspend striker Abdel-Zaher for ‘Rabaa’ sign

Posted on November 11, 2013

Al Ahly striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher flashes Rabaa salute

Al Ahly have suspended striker without pay on Monday for giving the ‘Rabaa’ salute after he scored against Orlando Pirates in the final, the club announced on its official website.

Ahly have officially suspended striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher on Monday for a four-finger celebration, the ‘Rabaa’ sign – which is often used by Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to sympathize with anti-military protesters who were killed in Rabaa al-Adawiya square following a massive crackdown on August 14 – after he scored the second goal against the Orlando Pirates on Sunday’s CAF Champions League final.

“In a meeting held today, the football committee decided to suspend the first team’s striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher and to freeze all of his financial dues,” a statement read on the club’s website Monday.

“The committee tasked the club’s football department head Hadi Khashaba and the team’s football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz to conduct an investigation before presenting their findings to an emergency board meeting on Tuesday,” the statement added.

The 28-year-old striker, who scored three goals in the competition, will also be subject to further investigations by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) and could very well be excluded from the Ahly squad ahead of next month’s Club World Cup in Morocco.

When questioned about the gesture, Abdel-Zaher didn’t deny that it was for Rabaa, but said it was only dedicated to the martyrs – including the policemen – rather than a political party.

“Yes, I raised the sign of Rabaa,” Abdel-Zaher was quoted by FilGoal.

“But I didn’t mean political excitement to any one side or fan. All I meant to do was to remember the martyrs, whether in Rabaa, any other citizen and even policemen.”

Egyptian Sports Minister Taher Abou-Zeid labelled the player’s actions as a “grave insult” which could not go unpunished, and expects both the club and the EFA to take action.

Abdel-Zaher is the second Egyptian athlete to be punished because of the four-fingered sign as kung fu champion Mohamed Youssef was banned from competing for one year after wearing a T-shirt with the same symbol at a medal ceremony last month.

UPDATE (November 12): Al Ahly have officially ruled out Abdel-Zaher from taking part in the Club World Cup and have transfer listed him for the Rabaa sign.


  1. Adham

    November 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    This dude should be punished for many reasons. First, he brought politics into a football match and this is unacceptable. Second, he is playing for a team with a neutral political views, he is sending signs only for Rabaa supporters and that will only make more hate and conflicts between AlAhly team fans. He must be suspended to be a lesson to all Egyptian football players.

    • Ossama

      November 12, 2013 at 3:47 AM

      Wow this is a very ignorant comment. The player has a democratic RIGHT to express himself in anyway, shape or form and him preforming such an act is no different to him for example showing solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Players have done such things before and not been punished so why now.
      Also, the government themselves are acting in a very undemocratic manner in this situation as they are banning someone from expressing their freedom of speech. If the government were banning him from merging politics with sport, then do you not see anyway that the present govt has acted in hypocritical manner in this situation?

      • Ossama

        November 12, 2013 at 3:53 AM

        And for the record i don’t think it is healthy to merge politics with sport, but everyone has the right to say what they want, as i am doing so now and you have done so previously with your comment. I also commend this website for not merging any politics with their journalism.

  2. mohamed

    November 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    I hope for no more problems in Egypt inshalla!

    • Adham

      November 12, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      Please, this is not freedom of speech we are not in a cafe discussing our point of views. He is playing in a team where ull find fans of different cultures backgrounds and political point of views. This act will 100% cause more problems. So why make it!!! He knows very well that doing such thing could lead to more conflicts between people. Do me and u want the!? So please don’t tell me it’s freedom of speech course it’s not the right time nor place. U know better I suppose!

      • Adham

        November 12, 2013 at 8:35 AM

        And btw u don’t have the right to say want ever is on ur mind at anytime and anywhere! This is not freedom of speech this a buffoonery! Keep that in mind please

        • gogi

          November 12, 2013 at 2:31 PM

          This is just nonsense. He has the right to do this sign wherever he wants to. It does not hurt anybody, unlike the military coup regime.

          • Adham

            November 12, 2013 at 11:07 PM

            It does hurt a whole population! And why can’t u understand in the field there shouldn’t be anything but football. This is how profesional work should be done! U can’t send signs to any groups specialy the political groups while thousands of fans are watching. Remember that Greek player who gave the fans a hi-hitler sign after his goal. That doosh never played again anywhere in the world. Why didn’t people say he’s just doing whatever he wants!! This sign is just something similar to SOME people in Egypt. It’s unacceptable by any means and it could’ve made a big mess, flights and turned the stadium into a war zone.Thank God nothing happened. It’s a funny sign to me but if it resembles peace to some people and hate to others then both are fans of the same club and u don’t want them fighting and that might lead to killing each other. This is just nonsense.

          • gogi

            November 13, 2013 at 1:23 PM

            This sign has nothing to do with hate. It just shows the solidarity with the victims of an unbelievable massacre commited by an illegal coup regime. So it`s quiet the opposite of the Nazi salute which, by the way, is forbidden in Germany regardless of where and when you show it.

          • Adham

            November 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

            Thank you for repeating what I just said. Therefore you shouldn’t do any political signs in the damn field. I only hope u get the message!!! I can’t explain this any better than what I wrote in the previous messages. This is just a few millions opinion about it.

          • Andrew Sidhom (@AndrewEGY)

            November 14, 2013 at 10:34 PM

            “He has the right to do this sign wherever he wants to. It does not hurt anybody”

            “it`s quiet the opposite of the Nazi salute which, by the way, is forbidden in Germany regardless of where and when you show it.”

            So many contradictions in your words…

          • Andrew Sidhom (@AndrewEGY)

            November 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM

            “This sign has nothing to do with hate. It just shows the solidarity with the victims of an unbelievable massacre commited by an illegal coup regime.”

            When you’ve just scored a goal and you run around making that sign, which has very clearly now become the unofficial flag of Muslim Brotherhood members/supporters, you’re not conveying a message of sympathy for victims. You’re associating your goal for Al-Ahly with a political group and declaring to anyone watching, “Brotherhood and proud!” Regardless of whether this was your actual intention or not, it’s the message you’re effectively conveying, and the only thing that type of thing does is it divides people about an issue completely detached from football and could very well result in antagonistic feelings as well as actions in the crowd. This is of course the logic behind FIFA’s regulations in that matter, but if you don’t understand the logic that’s ok, you just have to follow the rules. And if you want to show solidarity with the dead at Rabaa do it somewhere you can explain and defend your well-intentioned feelings. That immediately excludes football stadiums.

  3. Adham

    November 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Thank you Anderw!

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