Saudi investor Al-Sheikh will no longer invest in Egypt: Pyramids FC

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul, Tuesday 25 Sep 2018

File photo of Pyramids FC owner Turki Al-Sheikh (Ahram)

Saudi investor and Pyramids Football Club owner Turki Al-Sheikh has decided to stop investing in Egypt, the club's official TV Channel announced early on Tuesday.

"Al-Sheikh has definitively decided to pull out of investing in Egypt. He will provide professional contracts for the team players as well as the staff of the [Pyramids] TV Channel," prominent TV presenter Medhat Shalaby said in a short statement on Pyramids FC TV.

"All the prominent players will be provided with professional contracts outside Egypt, while the club itself will remain under the responsibility of current president Hossam El-Badry and football officials Ahmed Hassan and Hady Khashaba," said the statement by Pyramids FC TV channel about the club's uncertain future.

The announcement by Shalaby comes a few hours after Al-Sheikh, the head of Saudi Arabia's General Sports Authority, said via Twitter that he was considering ending his investments in Egypt.

"A strange attack from all sides and every day there is an issue [to deal with]. Why the headache?" Al-Sheikh said on Twitter.

Al-Sheikh was jeered by thousands of Ahly fans at the stadium during their team's 4-0 African Champions League win over Guinea's Horoya AC on Saturday.

Egyptian fans, who just recently reappeared on the stands at regular season games under limited numbers after a five-year crowd ban, are allowed by CAF regulations to attend African championship games at 75 percent of stadium capacity.

The angry fans charged that Al-Sheikh is responsible for the recent conflict between their club and the Saudi football association over the timing of a Saudi-Egyptian super cup match.

Al-Sheikh, whose moves in the Egyptian sports scene have been seen as problematic in the past months, has been shown support by Mortada Mansour, the president of Al-Ahly's rivals in the capital, Zamalek.

According to the controversial and outspoken Mansour, Turki has already sold his house in Egypt, and Mansour blamed Ahly's management for being responsible for the insults by the Ahly fans. He called on the Saudi investor to reconsider his decision.

Mansour also blamed his counterpart at Ahly Mahmoud El-Khateeb, especially after the latter's statement thanking the fans for behaving "ideally" during Saturday's match.

On Tuesday, Pyramids president El-Badry said in a long statement that he would not allow anyone who has an ulterior motive to stop this successful experience at Pyramids. El-Badry heaped praise on the Saudi investor, who he described as a big lover of Egypt.

Al-Sheikh's adventure in Egypt

Al-Sheikh initially appeared on the Egyptian sports scene as a hardcore fan and financial backer for Egypt's Ahly, and was named the honorary president of the Cairo giants in December 2017.

After just five months of receiving the honorary title, the 37-year-old Al-Sheikh stepped down from the post after a harsh dispute with the club management.

The relationship between Al-Sheikh and Ahly fans became tense when he founded Pyramids FC after buying Al-Assiouty Sport last summer in an unprecedented move.

Pyramids made some record signings amid allegations that the owner of the expensively-assembled team was eager to cause an upset and dethrone Ahly, who are eyeing a fourth straight league triumph.

Backed by a host of foreign players in addition to other prominent Egyptian ones, Pyramids quickly managed to book an advanced place in the Egyptian league title race.

The team currently stands in second place in the league with 15 points from seven matches, two points behind leaders Zamalek, who played one match more. 

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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