September 17, 2019
Chairman: Mr Amr Yousseff Hassan El Ganainy
Deputy Chairman: Mr Gamal Mohamed Ali
Member: Ms Sahar Abdel Hak Ahmed
Member: Mr Ahmed Abdallah Rad
Member: Mr Mohamed Fadl Zahran
Egyptian Football Association
الجزيرة، 5 El Gabalaya St, Egypt
Dear Members of the Normalisation Committee,
Coptic Solidarity (CS) is an independent, secular human rights organization. Our mission is to achieve equal citizenship rights for the Copts of Egypt, and for all religious minorities.
In this capacity, CS has received dozens of reports of discrimination from Coptic footballers in Egypt, indicating systematic discrimination against them based solely on faith, which prevents them from reaching the highest levels of competition. In response, CS published a report titled Discrimintion Against Copts in Egyptian Sport Clubs, which we also submitted to FIFA by email and via the online complaints mechanism. The report contains an overview of the widespread discrimination against Copts in football including ample sources and testimonies by moderate Muslims corroborating reality of the ongoing discrimination. It also includes a sampling of 25 of the cases reported to Coptic Solidarity by Coptic footballers.
The Egyptian Olympic Mission to Brazil in 2016 was completely devoid of Copts, and the same applies to the Egyptian national team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Not a single Copt can be found on either the main team or the reserve. There are currently 540 players in the top-flight soccer clubs in Egypt, and that number includes only one Coptic footballer. During the past half-century, an infinitely small number of Coptic footballers – no more than 6 – have managed to join top flight soccer clubs.
In accordance with FIFA’s 4th statue on anti-discrimination for all member organizations, CS urges the Normalisation Committee to utilize this opportunity to undertake the following measures which are important first steps towards ending discrimination against Coptic Footballers in Egypt. They can be continued and furthered once new members are elected as leaders of the Egyptian Football Association.
- Institute a 10% quota for Coptic footballers on the national team, reserve team, youth team, and at the club level.
- Create an online mechanism for athletes to report discrimination and hire a qualified team to investigate these claims in a timely manner. A policy of non-retaliation is essential for footballers to register complaints.
- Appoint a contact person for diversity and anti-discrimination as recommended in FIFA’s Good Practice Guide.
- Create an action plan to combat discrimination as recommended in FIFA’s Good Practice Guide.
Thank you for considering these important requests, and we look forward to your reply.
Coptic Solidarity Executive Committee
cc: Ms. Sarah Solemalé, Mr. Véron Mosengo-Omba, and Mr. Andreas Graf of FIFA