Sunday May 09, 2021. 10:00
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) have rejected Al Ahly’s request to have all of their remaining Premier League matches officiated by foreign referees.
After Ahly suffered a 1-0 loss to Ghazl El Mahalla last week, the Cairo club complained about the standard of refereeing and have demanded that their matches are handled by foreign officials for the rest of the 2020-21 season.
The Red Devils claim that they have the right to request this, as per the EFA’s rules and regulations, while the club’s sporting director, Sayed Abdelhafiz, was also under investigation for his comments following the loss to Mahalla.
In response, the head of the EFA’s normalisation committee, Ahmed Megahed, said that only Egyptian referees will be allowed to officiate domestic games in all tournaments and for the remainder of the season – including the Cairo derby against Zamalek which will be played on Monday 10 May.
“I didn’t see Al Ahly’s statement, but some of what was said was conveyed to me,” Megahed told OnTime Sport 2 TV, as quoted by KingFut.
“To be clear, there is no such thing as admitting our mistakes, as Al Ahly’s statement said. We don’t deny that there are refereeing mistakes, but they are human errors that happen all around the world and will continue to happen. We didn’t mention any mistakes in our letter to Al Ahly.
“Not long ago, the Football Association assigned all its domestic matches to the Egyptian referees, the best in the African continent, the best in the Arab world and in the entire region, and better than referees that came from ‘big footballing countries’.
“The use of foreign referees, according to the rules and regulations, needs upon the approval of the Football Association, so the matter is over. We will not bring in foreign referees.
“We fully appreciate the concern of some clubs, especially that the competition is quickly coming to an end. And we fully appreciate that there are clubs that have millions of fans pressuring them.
“All these matters are considered at the FA, and we won’t embarrass any club in front of their fans.
“However, in the end, there are some critical points for us, that the EFA is responsible for the game in Egypt and the refereeing, as well as responsible for all local tournaments, clubs and national teams.
“The Al Ahly and Zamalek match will be officiated by an Egyptian refereeing team. And the matches in June and July will also have Egyptian referees until the League, Egypt Cup and Super Cup matches are over.
“All these matches will be exclusively officiated by Egyptian referees,” he concluded.