10 October 2015
A staunch supporter of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has called on the government to allow football fans, a pillar of anti-government protest, back into stadia that have largely been closed to the public for nearly five years.
Sawiri’s request on the eve of two African Confederation Cup semi-finals in Cairo in which Egypt’s storied clubs Al-Ahly SC squared off with South Africa’s Orlando Pirates while Zamalek SC plays its return game against Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel, followed several recent incidents in which fans either forced their way into an Egyptian stadium or used away matches of Egyptian clubs to stage anti-government protests.
It also came after Sawiris acquired the Egyptian Premier League’s broadcast rights which he has since sold to two of Egypt’s television channels, TEN and Al-Hayat.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccerblog and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 12/10/2015