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Egypt-Saudi spat provides backdrop to their World Cup clash

first_imgMOST READ Bicol riders extend help to Taal evacuees Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Harvey Weinstein rape trial The Saudi-Egyptian quarrel has clear political undertones and the potential to spill over into the pitch when the two meet in Volgograd in their final World Cup match. That potential is all the more ominous because both are keen to make an impression on soccer’s highest stage before they go home.Soccer matches between Arab teams are often fraught with tension. This is particularly the case between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, said sports analyst Fathy Sanad.“It’s a special match for both teams. Both want to assert themselves after their exit from the World Cup, but they must make sure that the impression they leave is not negative. They must conduct themselves in a civilized manner and rise above Arab sensitivities.”Alsheikh heads Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority, the country’s highest sports agency, as well as the Saudi Olympic committee and the pan-Arab soccer confederation. A former policeman, he’s known to be close to Saudi Arabia’s powerful heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.Alsheikh’s dispute with Al-Ahly is rooted in his December appointment as an honorary president of the storied Cairo club. With deep pockets and global soccer connections, he appears to have wasted no time to take his largely ceremonial position way beyond its terms of reference. He secured a flurry of signings by Saudi clubs of surplus or unhappy Al-Ahly players, bankrolled the renewal of contracts for key club players, shopped for a new coach and announced a multi-million dollar project for a new Al-Ahly stadium.His attempt to wield influence over Al-Ahly, perhaps Egypt’s most popular club in Egypt, drew a sharp reaction from the man who in December bestowed on him the honorary title, former Egypt great Mahmoud el-Khateib.“No one, no one at all — with all due respect to Turki or no Turki … will be allowed to interfere in the club’s affairs, especially the football team,” el-Khateib, Al-Ahly’s chief executive, announced in televised comments.Apparently sensing that his honorary title could be withdrawn, Alsheikh stepped down last month and immediately threatened legal action, claiming the Cairo club has mismanaged 260 million Egyptian pounds (nearly $15 million) he has poured into its coffers over a five-month period. He also hired a top Egyptian lawyer, who has threatened legal action against Egyptian social media users and news sites insulting his client.The Saudi and Egyptian governments have remained silent on the ongoing spat, perhaps out of concern that publicly commenting would make things worse, but it also points to the silent competition between the two regional heavyweights.“These two nations are zealously competing for regional, political and sports leadership,” said Egyptian political analyst Hassan Nafaa. “It’s a love-hate relationship that is chiefly governed by common interests.” Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ So outraged were Egyptian fans that some suggested Alsheikh may have paid Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid defender who took down Salah in the May 26 Champions League final. No foul was called.The angry allegation reflects the depth of resentment Egyptians feel toward the Saudi official and their affection for Salah.Alsheikh has not endeared himself to Morocco’s soccer fans either. His country voted this month to support the eventually successful North American bid to organize the 2026 World Cup over Morocco’s bid. The unexpected move drove Moroccan fans to join their Egyptian peers in the spat with the Saudis.Alsheikh was also involved in testy Twitter exchanges with the president of European soccer over Qatar-owned sports broadcasting rights. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other nations started a blockade against Qatar last year, accusing the tiny but super rich Gulf nation of supporting opposition Islamist groups and working to destabilize the region. Qatar has rejected the accusations, calling the blockade a politically motivated attempt to undermine its sovereignty.Alsheikh suggested Thursday that UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin was a man “of many faces,” whom he had refused to meet. Ceferin’s response was that he had never heard of Alsheikh and would not meet with him.ADVERTISEMENT Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Kanno , left, and Mohammed Alburayk, right, after the group A match between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)VOLGOGRAD, Russia — In theory, it’s an inconsequential match between two teams already eliminated from the World Cup.In reality, Monday’s clash between Egypt and Saudi Arabia is about pride, politics and maybe some score settling too.ADVERTISEMENT Cloudy skies over Luzon due to amihan Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player awardcenter_img Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Taal victims get help from Kalayaan town LATEST STORIES Fans in the two nations are locked in a public quarrel pitting Saudi Arabia’s top sports official — a maverick and a confidante of the kingdom’s powerful crown prince — against Egypt’s biggest soccer club over the fate of millions he poured into the club’s coffers during his brief tenure as the club’s honorary chairman.Inappropriate comments by the official, Turki Alsheikh, about Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, fueled the spat, dragging millions of the Liverpool striker’s fans into it and unleashing a flood of abuse and hate speech on social media against him and Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Egypt and one of its chief economic backers.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“May God heal you (Salah) after the World Cup,” Alsheikh told reporters in Moscow on the eve of Saudi Arabia’s 5-0 loss to host Russia in the tournament’s opening match. Salah was injured in last month’s Champions League final. He did not play in Egypt’s 1-0 loss to Uruguay, but started against Russia June 19, scoring from the penalty spot in a 3-1 loss.In March, Alsheikh tweeted this about Salah; “He must be sidelined before the World Cup,” hoping the 26-year-old Egyptian star would not play against the Saudis Monday. Lukaku, Hazard score 2 each, help Belgium beat Tunisia 5-2 Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Christopher Tolkien, son of Lord of the Rings author, dies aged 95 Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View commentslast_img read more

Firestone Redundants 76 Workers

first_imgA staff at Firestone Liberia shows Daily Observer’s Publisher, Kenneth Y. Best, some finished products produced at the Firestone rubber wood factory.Authorities at the Firestone Rubber Company in Firestone recently laid off 76 of its workers due to what it calls losses at its Rubber Wood Factory and admits a plan to shut it down anytime soon.Recently, Margibi County District #1 Representative Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh visited Division #16 in Firestone on a call from a group of downsized employees at the Rubber Wood Factory. The aggrieved workers complained that their loss of employment has caused hundreds of family members and relatives to go hungry and their children may not continue their education due to their lack of capacity to pay their fees should they leave the dwelling places of the company.The spokesperson of the redundant workers, Vadimani Kollie, said Firestone has not given them what they deserve even though the company has asked them to stop working. He expressed concern over his children and those of his fellow workers.In an attempt to seek some help in favor of residents of Gazon Town, Firestone Division #16, Representative Tarponweh said his quest is that the government should buy pieces of Firestone furniture in order to allow the company to make money and keep the workers. “I understand what the company is going through but I am also worried about the aftermath of its (Firestone’s) decision leading to the reduction of manpower,” he said. He added that he has consulted with Margibi Senator Oscar Cooper who also has expressed interest in seeing to it that Firestone reconsiders its decision and call back the workers it has laid off.He expressed the hope that the government does business with Firestone by buying the different set of furniture produced in order to allow the company to keep residents in the area and others who have migrated there in search of livelihood to remain at work.Firestone Liberia’s outgoing general manager and chief executive officer, Eduardo Garcia, said business is for profit-making, but when conditions are so unfavorable that challenge a business against its progress and longevity, the wise thing to do is to close the business down.Stockpiles of Processed Firestone rubberwood, which the company says has sat in the factory without buyers for over a year.Treated wood as well as furniture for households, schools and offices, are produced at the Rubber Wood Factory, and sold in the country.Garcia told the Daily Observer recently that there appears to be no remedy to challenges the business was encountering, even if the government should come in to do business with his company.“We were in a meeting recently with the Representative of this district where we clearly made our concern known that we cannot continue this business, while there is no profit,” he said.Mr. Garcia said that the recent laying off of workers at the factory was predicated upon the losses his company continues to experience, which poses a serious challenge in meeting payroll requirements.He said due to lots of financial constraints, the company is indebted in the sum of over U$200 million.“People think all is well with Firestone-Liberia, but it is not so. We are seriously challenged with making more money due to low prices of rubber on the world market. We don’t decide the price of rubber but Singapore, and another important thing the public should know is that Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, and Ivory Coast are among other high natural rubber producing countries that have greater advantages than us,” Garcia said.He added that while Liberians’ desire for Firestone to begin manufacturing of rubber products in the country is good, what they need to know is that the cost of manufacturing of rubber materials in the country is too high.“While is true that we want more Liberians to work with our company, the conditions on the ground are not favorable for us to venture into manufacturing. We would have to import everything we need for the manufacturing, and getting quality equipment from overseas to Liberia is nothing to joke about,” Garcia said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more