CAF, Olympic committee sanction Egyptian club chairman

CAIRO — Murtada Mansour is not untouchable after all.

The chairman of one of Egypt's top soccer clubs was suspended for a year from soccer by the Confederation of African Football on Saturday, then suspended by Egypt's Olympic committee from any sports his Cairo-based Zamalek club is competing in.

The punitive actions are the first against Mansour, who has over the years been loathed and feared over his abusive language and nearly daily outbursts on TV talk shows. A one-time judge who now runs a law practice, Mansour has routinely threatened critics with voice recordings allegedly touching on their moral integrity or honor.

His vulgarity in public has been intensely debated, with many of his critics often wondering whether he was protected by powerful figures, a plausible possibility in a country where disruptive behavior in public is swiftly disciplined or punished.

Mansour is a member of Egypt's parliament. Numerous complaints against him have been lodged with the chief prosecutor, but parliament has consistently resisted requests for his immunity to be lifted so he can be questioned.

Cairo-based CAF and the Olympic committee finally had enough.

CAF suspended Mansour and fined him $40,000 for saying the 2017 election of its chairman, Ahmad Ahmad, was corrupt.

Mansour, who has three days to appeal the CAF sanctions, had a typical response. In an interview with a Kuwaiti television channel, he threatened to set CAF's Cairo headquarters on fire, throw the confederation out of Egypt, and prevent Ahmad from entering the CAF offices. "Do you come to our country to punish us and teach us manners?" he asked.

"Whoever touches me or Zamalek will find himself thrown out," he threatened.

Mansour maintains CAF has no jurisdiction to sanction him because he is not direct involved in Zamalek's soccer activity. However, it's a matter of public record that he exercises hands-on management of Zamalek's soccer squad, including firing and hiring coaches, placing players on the transfer list, and negotiating players' contracts.

Hours later, a statement issued after a meeting in Cairo by delegates from the national Olympic committee said Mansour "has gone too far with his breaches of ethic and violations of Olympic values."

All sports events scheduled to be held on Zamalek's home grounds would be moved away, according to the statement, which added that no correspondence signed by Mansour would be recognized by sports federations.

The sanctions were effective immediately, and would stay in place until an investigation into Mansour's conduct was complete, said the statement carried by the official MENA news agency.


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