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Thursday, 24 September 2020

Egypt's Zamalek take down controversial billboard after stern CAF warning

Hatem Maher , Wednesday 27 May 2020
Zamalek
Zamalek proclaimed themselves as the "real African Club of the Century" on a controversial billboard (photo: the club's official website)
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Egypt's Zamalek took down a controversial billboard after being given a stern warning by CAF, which said the club would face consequences if it refrained from removing the logo of the African governing body.

Cairo's popular club stirred fresh controversy last Friday when they hung a billboard over their premises to proclaim themselves as the "real African club of the 20th century", igniting a decades-old debate over the issue.

The message itself did not seem to bother CAF, which was more concerned over what it said was an infringement of its image rights.

"Please be reminded that CAF … owns, on an exclusive basis, any and all of the rights related to the usage of its logo and visual identity," CAF said in a letter it sent to Zamalek's eccentric chairman Mortada Mansour, according to Egyptian media.

"Your club has used and placed, without any prior authorization from CAF, the CAF official logo on a banner within the club perimeters.

"Consequently, your club is hereby summoned: - To immediately cease the facts above by removing the CAF logo from all banners … and to confirm to CAF in a written reply, within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, its full consideration and respect of the above subparagraphs.

"Failure to strictly comply with any of the requirements above within the delays set forth, CAF will take all necessary measures and actions against your club in order to safeguard the CAF's rights and interests."

Zamalek said they will remove CAF's logo and re-hang the billboard, adding that their problem lies with former CAF chairman Issa Hayatou rather than the incumbent, Ahmad Ahmad.

The White Knights believe CAF had unjustly favored Ahly, their Cairo nemesis who were given the honorary "Club of the Century" award 20 years ago.

Zamalek's claim hinges on an assumption that CAF had used a faulty system to determine who deserved the prize. The club said the fact that they had won a record four titles of Africa's premier club competition at the time should have pipped them ahead of then two-time winners Ahly.

However, CAF's complex coefficient system awarded the same number of points to the winners of that competition -- before it was re-branded the Champions League in 1997 -- and the winners of the less prestigious Cup Winners Cup, which Ahly had won four times.

In the new century, Ahly left Zamalek trailing in their wake with a mesmerizing run that saw them win the Champions League six times, taking their tally to a record eight triumphs, three clear of their traditional foes. 

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