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Inter Milan reject Zamalek centenary ceremony invitation

Zamalek rush to find a European 'guest of honour' as the club gears up to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their founding

Eslam Omar, Thursday 9 Jun 2011
Inter Milan
Inter Milan star striker Samuel Eto'o
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Citing security concerns, Italian club Inter Milan turned down an offer by Egyptian club Zamalek to be hosted in a friendly game as part of the centenary ceremony.

“We are in talks with other European giants to be our guest of honour in the centenary ceremony after Inter Milan wrote to us refusing the offer due to the lax security in Egypt during the country’s unrest,” stated the club’s president, Galal Ibrahim, to the Egyptian media on Wednesday.

“We are hoping that the country gets back to normal soon as this will ease our mission to host big teams which would please our fans,” he added.

Zamalek initially approached Real Madrid but was deterred by the Spanish side's financial demands. The Cairo-base club is to communicate with AC Milan.

The Egyptian Premier League leaders were set to hold their 100-year festivity five months ago, but the celebrations were postponed with the country in the grips of the January 25 Revolution.

One of the oldest clubs in Egypt, Zamalek was established on 5 January 1911 and their football team has many fans around Africa and the Arab world. They have won the Egyptian league title 11 times and the Egypt Cup on 21 occasions. Their success also extends beyond Egypt, having won five African Champions League trophies and many other championships.

Zamalek has been hit with a financial crisis, following the dismissal of former president Mamduh Abbas, who was a major source of the club’s funds.

Zamalek currently are competing for their first Egyptian Premier League title since 2004 as they remain level with their arch rivals Ahly at the top of the table with 46 points.

The Cairo-based club also announced that they will follow in their arch rival’s steps and enter into an advertising deal as they are currently seeking sponsorship from big agencies including Al-Ahram.

“We are comparing the offers and we will make the decision soon,” Ibrahim added.

Egyptian football giants Ahly signed a massive three-year sponsorship deal with Al-Ahram Advertising Agency on Monday for LE141 million, the largest ever in Egyptian football history. 

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