Zamalek skipper Shikabala to go to FIFA if suspension upheld, denies insulting Ahly fans

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Sep 2021

Shikabala considers his recent suspension by EFA as a harsh one, hopes that racism in Egyptian football ends soon

Shikabala during Saturday's interview with MBC Masr

Zamalek's veteran winger Mahmoud Shikabala said he intends to lodge a complaint with FIFA if his recent suspension ban was upheld by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), denying he insulted fans of archrivals Ahly.

"I didn't believe the decision by the football association. There is no rule in the EFA's regulations that suspends me for such period. If the suspension is upheld by the EFA, I will go to FIFA to get my right," Shikabala said in an interview with MBC Masr TV channel late on Saturday.

On 29 August, Shikabala was handed an eight-month ban after being involved in a heated exchange with EFA chief Ahmed Megahed during the team's league celebrations on the final match of the season.

Shikabala, a fan favourite who is no stranger to controversy, was videoed remonstrating with Ahmed Megahed following the end of Zamalek's final league game of the season against NBE club.

Reports said Shikabala was furious that some of his teammates, who were not included in the match's squad, and their wives were not allowed on the pitch during the post-match celebrations as Zamalek were presented with the league trophy.

Megahed reportedly approached the 35-year-old to tell him it was not his job to decide who gets in, sparking a furious exchange. Videos showed Shikabala being restrained by security personnel.

"Shikabala is suspended for eight months and given an EGP 500,000 (roughly $31,750) fine for inciting fans, insulting the EFA and verbally abusing its officials as well as not respecting the league's coronation ceremony," the Egyptian governing body said in a statement at the time.

"The EFA president himself insisted publicly that I didn't abuse him," Shikabala commented on the incident with Megahed.

Shikabala's suspension effectively rules him out of the entire new season.

Rift with Ahly fans

Shikabala's career has been blighted by numerous disciplinary problems as he failed to live up to his potential due to some off-field antics.

Most recently, he was caught on television cameras making an offensive chant against Ahly along with a small contingent of Zamalek supporters after the White Knights were crowned Egyptian champions with one match to spare last week. The EFA did not refer to this incident when announcing Shikabala's penalty.

"I didn't insult Ahly fans. I just go for Zamalek fans to celebrate and I am not responsible for their chants. The same thing happened with Ahly players before and they weren't responsible for what their fans said," Shikabala explained.

"I don't have a personal problem with anyone. If I am not insulted or my family I won't do anything. I want to thank all the respectable supporters who meet me on the streets and I hope that racism in Egyptian football ends soon," he concluded.

Shikabala has been involved in numerous confrontations with the Red Devils' fans throughout his troublesome career, often responding to any offensive chants in an unruly manner.

Earlier this year, he was handed a two-game ban for pointing to his shoe in an apparent insulting gesture to Ahly's supporters during a 1-1 Cairo derby draw.

Shikabala scored two goals and provided five assists in all competitions this season.

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