CAF urges 'political neutrality' after Egypt boycotts beIN Sports

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Jun 2017

Hossam El-Badry
Ahly coach Hossam El-Badry shouts at journalists during a presser following a Champions League game at Morocco's Wydad Casablanca, saying he won't speak to beIN Sports

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has demanded that players, clubs and national associations respect strict neutrality and independence, particularly on the political level, after Egypt’s national team and Cairo club Ahly refused to give access to Qatari-owned sport channel beIN in recent matches.

The decision by the Egyptian national team to boycott beIN Sports after the African Cup of Nation qualifier defeat against Tunisia on 12 June came shortly after the country had cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Egypt and fellow Arab countries Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf state of supporting "terrorist" organisations including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Among the principles Olympism is... the respect of strict neutrality and independence, particularly at the political level, within the framework of the sporting events in which [the participants operate]," CAF said on Wednesday, stressing that these principles "are part of the statutory missions of CAF and FIFA, as well as the obligations of member associations."

"Certain inappropriate behaviours in this respect have recently been noted by representatives of certain clubs and national teams competing in CAF competitions," CAF added.

Ahly coach Hossam El-Badry refused to talk to beIN Sports following his side's 2-0 Champions League loss to Morocco's Wydad on Tuesday.

"This is a country's decision. I hope everybody understands my respecting this decision," El-Badry explained at a presser.

However, the CAF has said that "such behaviour has no place in a sports competition," calling on officials to report any similar incident.

"CAF calls on the relevant stakeholders for reason to prevail, regardless of their sensitivities, and stresses that it will be particularly vigilant with respect to these principles of neutrality and independence in all future games played under its aegis."

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