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Tala’a El-Gaish striker Amin suspended over ‘Sisi’ gesture
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Thursday that it had suspended Tala’a El-Gaish forward Salah Amin for a hand gesture appearing to be in support of Field Marshall Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt’s military chief.
The suspension will take effect immediately and last through the remainder of the domestic football season. The EFA did however say that Amin has the right to appeal the ban. He was also fined LE 20,000 (about $2,900).
Amin appeared to bend each hand in the shape of the letter ‘C’ after scoring a goal in a league match against Ismaily, an apparent attempt to spell ‘Sisi’ phonetically. The EFA outlaws political gestures and celebrations of any kind.
The club was also fined LE 10,000 (about $1,400) for its failure to respond to letters from the EFA regarding the case.
The penalty comes on the heels of a similar incident involving Al Ahly striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher, who celebrated a goal in the CAF Champions League final against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates by using a four-fingered ‘Rabaa’ gesture synonymous with supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The Cairo club responded by banning the 28-year-old and loaning him out to Libya’s Ittihad in exchange for another Egyptian forward, Ahmed Raouf.
Egypt has been embroiled in off-and-on political strife since a 2011 uprising that lead to the military’s removal of former president Hosni Mubarak. Divisions deepened in the two years that followed, culminating in another round of mass protests and a second military ouster, this time of then-president Mohamed Morsi. Political discord has persisted in the region’s most-populous nation since.