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Egypt player suspended over Islamist salute

Al-Ahly football club bans striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher for hand gesture linked to supporters of ousted President Morsi.

Last updated: 12 Nov 2013 13:15
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Islamists often flash a four-finger sign known as "Raba'a" (four) in Arabic to support anti-coup protests [AFP]

Egypt's Al-Ahly football club says it has suspended striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher without pay for using a four-fingered hand gesture linked to supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in a goal celebration, according to the Associated Press.

The newly crowned African club champion said that the 28-year-old forward was suspended on Monday for showing the sign after scoring the second goal in a 2-0 win over South Africa's Orlando Pirates in the African Champions League final second leg in Cairo on Sunday.

Ahly won 3-1 on aggregate for its eighth continental club title.

The suspension means that Abdel-Zaher may miss next month's FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, the club sources said.

Islamists have often flashed the four-finger sign, called Rabaa (four) in Arabic, at anti-military protests since a deadly crackdown on supporters of ousted President Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on August 14 left hundreds of people killed.

A senior member of the club told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity that the move to suspend Abdel-Zaher was being taken because "he mixed politics with sport".

Egypt's minister of state for sport, Taher Abu Zeid, said in a statement that he "expects" the nation's football federation to "suspend and fine Abdel-Zaher the way Kung Fu fighter Mohamed Youssef was".

Egypt's Kung Fu Association banned Youssef from international championships for two years after he wore a T-shirt bearing the four-finger sign last month at a tournament in Russia.

"The ministry itself cannot take such decisions but the concerned institutions can," said Abu Zeid.

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