Fallen Egyptian regime ‘tried to influence Ahly over El-Hadary saga’

Hatem Maher, Tuesday 16 Aug 2011

An Ahly board member says the dismantled Egyptian regime tried to pressure the club into pardoning outcast goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary

Essam El-Hadary

The previous Egyptian regime, which was dismantled following January’s revolution, tried to pressure Ahly into pardoning goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, a club board member said on Tuesday.

Khaled Mortagi told Egyptian radio that Ahly did not accept requests from authorities at the time to forgive the controversial guardian, who violated his contract with the Red Devils to join Swiss side Sion in February 2008.

El-Hadary has made several attempts to return to Ahly since then but his pleas fell on deaf ears, given the hostile relationship between him and the club’s faithful following his acrimonious departure.

“We were subjected to heavy pressure by the previous regime to forgive El-Hadary. However, Ahly’s board members were determined to gain their rights from that saga,” Mortagi said.

“Ahly have never entered the political fray since the club’s establishment (in 1907). Ahly belong to all people.”

The 36-time Egyptian champions filed a complaint with world governing body FIFA following El-Hadary’s move to Sion.

The 38-year-old, who is widely regarded as the best keeper in Egypt’s history, was eventually suspended for four months and handed a hefty fine. Sion were also given a one-year ban from fielding newly registered players.

El-Hadary is currently seeking to leave Sudanese giants El-Merreikh and return to the Egyptian Premier League.

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