Egypt Olympic committee wants legal action against club head

FILE - In this April 6, 2014 file photo, lawyer and head of Zamalek FC club Mortada Mansour speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt's Olympic Committee is appealing to the country's parliament to lift the immunity of Mansour it sanctioned for insulting the head of CAF and for his unethical conduct. The state-owned daily al-Ahram published Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, the Olympic committee's full statement on Mansour. (AP Photo/Lobna Tarek, El Shorouk, File)

CAIRO — Egypt's Olympic Committee has appealed to the country's parliament to lift the immunity of the chairman of a Cairo club it sanctioned for misconduct, saying his abuse of the privilege has left his victims without recourse to justice.

Murtada Mansour of Zamalek FC was sanctioned Saturday by both the Confederation of African Football and the Egyptian Olympic Committee for insulting the head of CAF and for unethical conduct. Mansour reacted defiantly, threatening to burn down CAF's Cairo headquarters, throw it out of Egypt or preventing its head, Ahmad, from entering its offices.

"It's a conspiracy against Zamalek," he said in a video clip posted online late Saturday. He said no one could stop him from attending matches and framed the crisis in nationalistic terms, amid a wave of xenophobia that has gripped Egypt in recent years and which is often stoked by the pro-government media.

This is a case of "enlisting the aid of a foreign party against an Egyptian citizen," he said in the video, alluding to the meeting Saturday between delegates of the Egyptian and international Olympic committees to discuss his case.

The state-owned daily al-Ahram published Sunday the Olympic committee's full statement on Mansour. Its call on the 596-seat parliament to lift his immunity so he can face legal proceedings appeared to be a thinly veiled criticism of the pro-government chamber, which has repeatedly declined requests to waive that privilege.

"The purpose of immunity is not to empower those who have it to insult, slander and stain the reputation of sports figures who have no recourse to justice before the courts," said the statement, which accused Mansour of breaking the law and violating the constitution.

"He should be a role model for youths rather than hurling abuse at everyone, their families and mothers," it added.

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

His public vulgarity — including insults targeting families of his critics or rivals and innuendo about their sexual orientation — has been intensely debated.

Vowing to take more actions against Mansour, the Olympic committee's statement said nothing would stop it from ensuring that the law prevails and to protect sports in Egypt.

"Egypt's international reputation will not be disgraced or associated with a person who knows nothing but lies," it said, according to al-Ahram.

CAF on Saturday banned Mansour for a year from all soccer-related activity and fined him $40,000. The Olympic committee's punitive measures included moving away from Zamalek's home ground all sports events and for sports federations to cease recognizing any correspondence signed by Mansour.

The sanctions were effective immediately. They would stay in place until an investigation into Mansour's conduct was complete, said the statement.


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