The president of Egyptian football club Zamalek has threatened to ban a group of fans who formed a giant "angry face" emoji in the stands during an African Champions League match against Sudan's Al-Merreikh on Friday.
According to Reuters, the supporters made the gesture as a protest over the Egyptian champion's poor performance in the continental competition, with this being the team's third consecutive group stage exit.
Instead of their usual white, around 150 Zamalek fans dressed in all black sat in formation, throughout the game, despite their team winning 4-3 at Cairo International Stadium.
Now that is an innovative way to voice your dissatisfaction by fans of Egyptian team Zamalek! #beINTERACT pic.twitter.com/rMigfnyOzO
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) April 1, 2023
Following the incident, club president Mortada Mansour told reporters: "Zamalek wears white with two red lines. Whoever wants to support us is welcome, but not in black."
"Those who went to the Al-Merreikh match in black will not be allowed to attend again," he added.
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Zamalek, who recently terminated the contract of their Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira for the second time in two months, with a brief dismissal in January, are currently fifth in the Egyptian league. However, they trail their rivals Al-Ahly by 11 points and are two games behind in the league standings.
Mansour has just finished serving a one-month prison sentence, after slandering the chairman of Al-Ahly, Mahmoud El-Khatib. Mansour who is also a politician and former MP had previously used parliamentary immunity to protect him from potential defamation cases. However, after losing an election in 2020, Khatib filed a defamation case over a video that appeared on social media and the Zamalek club channel.
Mansour was initially sentenced to a year behind bars after being found guilty, but had the sentence reduced to one month in August 2022. Last month a further appeal by Mansour was rejected and his imprisonment was upheld.
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