Egypt footballer suspended over Morsi sign

Ahmed Abdul Zaher makes a four-finger gesture. Photo: 10 November 2013 Ahmed Abdul Zaher reportedly said he did not mean any "political excitement"

One of Egypt's top football clubs has excluded its striker from a competition for publicly showing support for ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Al Ahly said Ahmed Abdul Zaher would not go to next month's Fifa Club World Cup in Morocco after he gave a four-fingered salute on Sunday.

The striker was celebrating his goal in the final of the African Champions League, which Al Ahly won 2-0.

The gesture has become a symbol of solidarity with Mr Morsi.

It commemorates a Cairo sit-in by supporters of the Islamist president which was violently dispersed by the security forces in August, leading to the deaths of hundreds of people.

Mr Morsi - Egypt's first democratically elected president - is currently on trial on charges of inciting the killing of protesters during clashes in the capital last year. He was ousted in July.

'Grave insult'

Abdul Zaher celebrated with the four-finger gesture (Rabaa) after scoring the second goal in Al Ahly's 2-0 win over South Africa's Orlando Pirates.

"Yes, I raised the sign of Rabaa," he was quoted as saying by Egypt's football website FilGoal.

"But I didn't mean political excitement to any one side or fan. All I meant to do was to remember the dead, whether in Rabaa, any other citizen and even policemen.''

On Monday, Al Ahly officials said he would be excluded from the squad for the Morocco competition.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Sports Minister Taher Abu Zeid said the player's "grave insult" could not go unpunished.

The minister said he was confident that both the club and the Egyptian Football Association would take action.

Abdul Zaher is the second leading Egyptian sportsman to be penalised for publicly backing Mr Morsi, the BBC's Orla Guerin in Cairo reports.

Last month, champion kung fu fighter Mohammed Youssef was banned from competing at home and abroad for two years after using the same gesture at a medal ceremony.

The move added to growing concerns about freedom of speech under Egypt's new military-backed government.

More on This Story

More Middle East stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.