BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
The crisis in the Gulf region which has seen some Arab countries breaking ties with Qatar has snowballed into the football arena in Africa. The first victim is Hossam El Badry, the coach of Egyptian giants, Al Ahly.
The Confederation of African Football, CAF, has slammed one-match suspension and a fine of 10,000 US Dollars on him for what is described as “violating directives and guidelines related to media operations of the ongoing Total CAF Champions League.
The infringement was committed during the Day 5 and 6 Group D matches against Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco and Coton Sport of Cameroon on June 20 in Casablanca (Morocco) and July 9 in Alexandria (Egypt) respectively.
Sports Village Square gathered that the coach objected to the microphone of beIN Sports, a Qatari sports network which has the sole rights in the Middle East to broadcast tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations, the CAF Champions League and the World Cup among others.
The Qatari outfit which also has exclusive rights to the African Champions League and Confederation Cup has been blocked in many Gulf countries over the crisis.
Sports Village Square also gathered that the Egyptian Football Association along with the North African country’s two biggest clubs – Al Ahly and Zamalek – announced that beIN Sports journalists would be barred from covering their games and press conferences.
On the eve of the Champions League match against Wydad Casablanca, Al Ahly Head Coach Hossam El Badry objected to the presence of beIN Sports reporters at the pre-match press conference in Casablanca.
Having threatened to walk out, El Badry eventually performed his media duties but clashed with beIN Sports reporters over the positioning of their microphone.
CAF in a media statement on Thursday stated that: “for the match against Wydad, El Badry left the press conference room “because there was a BeIN Sports microphone. The coach finally participated in the press conference whilst covering the microphone of BeIN Sports to prevent the sound or pushing it away at other times”.
With respect to the game against Coton Sport, “the coach as well as players refused to make an interview with BeIN Sports after the match. The coach did assist in the press conference at the end of the match but the players were not there”.
Meanwhile, the one-match ban is suspended on condition that El Badry is not found guilty of a similar offence until the end of the competition.