Current Al Ahly President Hassan Hamdy Discusses Politics, Controversy & More
Hassan Hamdy, Al Ahly’s current President, was Khairy Ramadan’s guest on January 29th on his talk show ‘Momken’ on CBC. Following the decision to sack Al Ahly’s entire board by Sports Minister Taher Abou-Zeid – only for the Prime Minister to reverse his decision – Hamdy was expected to make some notable comments.
Discussing the latest events surrounding the status of Al Ahly’s board, Hamdy reflected on Zamalek’s experiences with the same issue: “Zamalek’s board have been sacked out before the new constitution. During the past decade, many Zamalek boards were removed and assigned. We do not want this for Al Ahly.”
“There is a huge difference between Al Ahly and Al Zamalek in stability and results,” he concluded.
Expanding on his point, Hamdy added: “Removing the board with a swift decision is a ‘disaster’. Moreover, the board was not sacked by the law, it was sacked by the regulations.” He continued: “The Football Association gave the Sports Minister the ability to produce regulations enforced by the law and therefore can not be contested. We tried to change that during El Ganzouri’s government. Such regulations gave the Minister the right to sack any board which disobeys his rules. Taher Abou Zeid’s decision was an abuse of authority.”
“The International Olympic Committee prevents governmental interference in clubs’ affairs,” said Hamdy. “According to The International Olympic Committee’s regulations, Taher Abou Zeid, El Amry Farouk and Hassan Saker have wronged the clubs.”
Moving from Al Ahly’s board issues to a discussion of FIFA policies more generally, Hamdy said the following: “Al Ahly’s problem with officials arises because of their disrespect of international conventions. Al Ahly went to FIFA about Taher Abou Zeid’s decision, El Amry Farouk and Hassan Sakr, but FIFA has yet to act. Egypt deserves better than this.”
Barcelona was brought up in the interview as well: “We received a professional license a year ago. Because of this license, Al Ahly is following the model of Barcelona. Al Ahly has 96 thousand members and 19 more Sports than Barcelona, and certainly I do not consider the high number of sports a bad thing. Al Ahly’s board lasts for 4 years with 2 rounds, Barcelona’s lasts for 6 years.”
Money was a major topic of discussion, given the up-and-down nature of the domestic league in recent years and the subsequent financial struggles for Egyptian clubs: “During the past years, Al Ahly has spent 895 million (Egyptian) pounds, with only 7 million pounds spent as government support. Al Ahly gets 60 million pounds annually out of sponsorship.”
Broadcasting their matches on national TV did not bring in much money for Al Ahly. Hamdy commented on that saying “24 million was the maximum sum offered by National TV.” This was before Future Media bought the rights of Al Ahly’s matches for 41 million.
The rights to broadcast Al Ahly’s matches has caused some problems between Al Ahly and Federation of Radio and Television. To this Hamdy replied: “Al Ahly’s board has decided to market the matches in solo and notified the Football Association. Mahmoud El Khateeb and Khaled El Darandaly had a meeting with the Federation of Radio and Television to discuss broadcasting issues, however, we have not received a response yet.”
“Said Federation made a deal with the football federation three days after our meeting for 70 million instead of last year’s 78 million.”
Politics has been something that has brought great chaos within Al Ahly, given the events which took place in Egypt during the past 3 years. Mohamed Abou-Treika and Ahmed Abdel-Zaher were mainly associated with such talks. Hassan Hamdy said it clearly that Al Ahly has nothing to do with politics: “Al Ahly never gets into politics ever. I have never joined the National Party or the Policy Committee.”
Regarding Abou-Treika, he said: “Abou Treika have never done any political work.”Concerning Abdel-Zaher, he said, “He is a good person. However when his case was discussed (his ‘Rabaa’ salute in the CAF CL final last year which was not treated lightly) it was discovered that he joined some Ikhwan gatherings.” He also mentioned Hady Khashaba: “Him attending a conference for Mohamed Morsi was wrong but he did apologize.” Regarding his connections with Ahmed Shafiq, a former Presidential candidate, he said: “I would not have agreed for any player to participate in his press conference even though I am acquainted with him.”
He ended his interview talking about supporters and stadiums: “The military stadiums are keeping sports activities in Egypt going, they are the reason behind the return of the Egyptian Premier League and one of the reasons behind Al Ahly winning the African Championship. I wish that supporters are able to return to the stadiums for good soon. Ultras Ahlawy must be present even though they have caused us many troubles. Everyone should support them nevertheless.”
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