Many football clubs denounced the decision to restart the Egyptian Premier League on July 25th while COVID-19 is still an issue. Zamalek has doubled down and withdrew from the League entirely.
We know we mentioned the possibility that this could happen, but somehow we never actually thought they'd go through with it. After the Ministry of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi declared that sports activities are allowed to resume soon, with the Egyptian Premier League set to return on July 25th, many football clubs - including Zamalek, Al Masry and Ismaily SC - have denounced the decision. In the face of the rollback in regulations, these clubs have voiced their concerns that the Coronavirus pandemic has not, in fact, ended. And while it was easy to believe that eventually they'll follow Al Ahly's lead and welcome the return of the League with open arms, one of these clubs have decided to double down instead.
Zamalek SC's President Mortada Mansour broke the news that the football club will not participate in the rest of the Premier League matches, after consulting with team manager Patrice Carteron. We know what SOME of you are thinking - that this is just another case of cold feet just like when they forfeited a match earlier this year due to the rain - but let's put aside our fevered football rivalry for one second and consider the facts. Just last Wednesday, June 24th, the Egyptian Football Association detected six new COVID-19 cases at Premier League clubs, with Enppi Sporting Club confirming that they found four cases while Ittihad of Alexandria shared that they found one. All it takes is for one to slip through the League's defences in order to endanger a whole team. Is the chance at a comeback from fourth to maybe third or second place really worth the risk for Zamalek's players? Or for any of them? While it seems Zamalek's president has decided to drive #StayHomeStaySafe to the end line, it remains to be seen how many other clubs will follow.