War of words between Zamalek, Smouha chairmen ahead of Egypt Cup final

Ahram Online , Saturday 12 May 2018

Zamalek v Smouha
File photo of an Egyptian Premier League game between Smouha and Zamalek (Ahram)

The chairmen of Zamalek and Smouha were embroiled in a war of words after the latter club had threatened to withdraw from Tuesday's Egypt Cup final in protest against assigning an Egyptian referee for the game.

Farag Amer, a businessman and the chairman of Smouha, launched a scathing attack on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) on Thursday after it turned down his request to assign the match to a foreign referee.

Amer said he was enraged because the EFA had initially accepted his demand to select a foreign referee for the second cup final meeting between Smouha and Zamalek in four years.

"I had already sent the money to the EFA to bring a foreign official but they changed their mind at the end for no reason," he added.

Zamalek's firebrand president Mortada Mansour hit back at Amer in a typically fiery manner, accusing him of trying to intimidate Egyptian referees before the match.

"You are trying to terrorize any referee who would be in charge of the match. Where were you when Smouha beat Zamalek 3-0 in the Egyptian league (last October) under an Egyptian referee?" he said in a video posted on his official Facebook page.

Although Amer and Mansour were on good terms, with both being members of the Egyptian parliament, the latest row looks likely to escalate.

Amer, who heads the sports and youth committee in the parliament, requested that the parliament's speaker lift the immunity of Mansour to be questioned over "the insults he directed towards another MP."

The Smouha chairman also insisted his side will not show up for the cup final, which will take place at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium, unless the EFA brings in a foreign referee to take charge of the match.

Smouha are eyeing their first-ever trophy while Zamalek are seeking to win the secondary domestic competition for the fifth time in the last six editions.

Zamalek are desperate not to end the season empty-handed after a disappointing campaign saw them finish fourth in the Egyptian league and exit the African Confederation Cup at the first hurdle.

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