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FEATURE: A look at the Egyptian Premier League’s refereeing crisis this season
After Misr El-Maqassa’s controversial win against Zamalek, we dig through the most controversial refereeing decisions in the Egyptian Premier League this season.
Are referees favoring some teams at the expense of others? Or are these normal human errors that could occur anywhere?
Al Ahly 1-0 Misr El-Maqassa
In the 13th round, the Red Devils faced second placed, Misr El-Maqassa, aiming to snatch the crucial three points in their race to win the league. Egyptian referee, Ibrahim Nour El Din called a contentious penalty to Al Ahly after claiming that the ball had touched an El-Maqassa defender’s hand.
After the game, El-Din stated that he did not hesitate to call the penalty saying, “Maqassa player admitted that the ball touched his hand. Do not blame me for a mistake made by the match TV director or because of lack of cameras in the stadium. I make decisions according to what happens in the pitch.”
The match increased the difference to five points between Al Ahly and El-Maqassa. It is worth noting that after this match, Zamalek’s chairman, Mortada Mansour, issued a statement to forfeit the league, but did not execute it.
Ismaily 1-1 Nasr Lel Taa’den
Perhaps the most bizarre refereeing incident in the Egyptian Premier League this season was Ismaily’s goalkeeper Mohamed Awaad coming out of the box to save a shot with his hand. Ironically, the referee did not even notice the incident and the game proceeded.
Enppi 1-1 Aswan
You probably never heard about a referee scoring a goal unless it is the wondrous Egyptian Premier League. The referee, Kamel Mohamed was mispositioned inside the box, where a shot hit him and deflected into the goal giving the lead to Enppi.
Although Aswan managed to find the net later, this mistake has proved costly to the southern team who currently lie in the 16th place and very close to be relegated.
Al Ahly 2-1 Wadi Degla
Even though Al Ahly managed to win the game and the three points, Wadi Degla were awarded a controversial penalty in the first half. The ball hit Abdallah El-Said’s chest yet the referee ruled a penalty to Degla claiming that it touched his hand.
Al Masry 0-1 Zamalek
Egypt’s international referee Gihad Greisha, who is expected to represent Egypt in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, failed to rule a penalty for Al Masry when the ball touched Zamalek’s Ahmed Dunga’s hand in the box in the 38th minute.
Zamalek 1-1 Wadi Degla
Another mistake from the linesman to rule a false offside on Wadi Degla’s Mohamed Helal. The goal could have handed the win and the three points to Wadi Degla.
Petrojet 1-0 El-Dakhleya
Egyptian referee, Mahmoud Bassiouny, changed his decision after ruling a penalty to El-Dakhleya. The ball hit a Petrojet defender’s hand inside the box and after ruling a penalty, the referee discussed the incident with the assistant, who convinced him to change his mind.
Misr El-Maqassa 1-0 Zamalek
The most controversial incident of the season happened when Egyptian referee, Gihad Gresiha failed to rule a penalty to Zamalek, after the ball hit El-Maqassa’s player hand inside the box. After the game, Zamalek’s president, Mortada Mansour, decided to forfeit the league; the club’s decision is still unknown.
The Egyptian League experiences many refereeing mistakes that, undoubtedly, change the fates of many teams. These are just some examples of the mistakes that have occurred this.
Some may claim that the refereeing errors are an integral part of football, but these mistakes are bizarre and they cause a lot of speculation on whether they are intentional or not. Supporters may claim that one referee backs another team; however, it is almost impossible to reach a conclusion that supports this claim.
Clearly the Egyptian referees training systems must improve in order to decrease the number of these errors. Referees’ extensive and intensive training should be evaluated and assessed in order to improve their performances.
Moreover, the EFA officials should not publicly comment on the referees’ performances after the game as it undermines them and invalidates the results of competitions that cannot be replayed.
These mistakes have led the Egyptian Football Association to approve the use of assistant video referees in the Egyptian Premier League. This feature was tested in the 2016 Club World Cup in Japan last December, and caused a lot of controversy as some said that it affected the pace and flow of the game and that human error is part of football. Would this be the right solution to this refereeing crisis?