Zamalek to continue Egyptian League but crisis is still incitable

Eslam Omar, Monday 30 May 2011

Zamalek withdraws their threat to pull out of the League but still insists on replaying the Maqassa game, where they claim the ref made bad calls and persecuted them, but ref experts say it’s impossible to replay it

Zamalek fans

The Zamalek board decided early on Monday to continue competing in the Egyptian Premier League despite their threats to withdraw if they weren’t allowed to replay a match against Maqassa.

The 1-0 defeat by Maqassa left Zamalek stunned and they pointed the finger at referee, Yasser Mahmud for intentionally making bad calls against them.

“Considering the country’s circumstances, the board voted to continue the League,” The White Castle President Galal Ibrahim announced in a statement, referring to Egypt’s revolution that started on 25 January.

Although White Castle withdrew their threat to pull out of the League they still insist in replaying the Day-23 match. They specify that ref Mahmud cancelled a penalty for an apparent handball by Maqassa striker Hussein Hamdy and also that he incorrectly disallowed Abdel-Safi's goal for a false offside.

Instead, the Cairo giants threaten to withdraw their confidence in the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), under leadership of President Samir Zaher, because they “failed satisfyingly manage” the association.

Zamalek, who compete for their first league title since 2004, remain on top of the table with 46 points, ahead of arch-rivals Ahly by only one goal after the title holders levelled points following a 3-0 victory over Haras El-Hodoud on Wednesday.

Referee debates                                                             

“I swear I didn’t see the penalty kick or the offside” The Egyptian referee insisted on Egyptian television adding “My decisions were fair and I assert that I didn’t make any calls intentionally against Zamalek.”

To save his reputation Mahmud confirmed his resignation on Sunday due to what he called “terroristic atmosphere” as Zamalek football director, Ibrahim Hassan accused him of holding a personal grudge against him and his twin, Hossam, Zamalek coach.

On the other hand, refereeing experts affirmed that bad calls are never reason enough to replay a game, unless the ref confesses through the match report that he intended to make the mistakes.

“Cancelling the Zamalek-Maqassa match within these circumstances is legally impossible,” former international referee, Gamal El-Ghandour asserts.

Another former ref, Mahmud Othman, supported Yasser Mahmud and demanded that he reconsider his retirement, calling it baseless, especially that “the offside call is the assistant referee’s mistake.”

To avoid a repeat, the 11-time Egyptian League holders requested on Wednesday foreign referees for all remaining matches to ensure neutrality.

Football fans protest

The angry announcements by Zamalek officials regarding the bad calls incited tens of their supporters to protest before the EFA building on Sunday chanting against “oppression,” especially during the revolutionary atmosphere in the country.

“The EFA board is aware of the critical situation and our decisions will satisfy all parties,” EFA member Azmy Megahed said in a statement.

For security concerns, the Zamalek clash against El-Shorta (The Police team) in day 24 of the League is to be held at the Military Stadium.

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