Debates surfaced all over social media in Egypt, after the Egyptian president declared he would reward each player on the national football team an estimated 1.5 million EGP, after the athletes won the qualifying round for World Cup 2018 in Russia.
Social media users expressed outrage over the decision, as the reward amount is high when taking into account the current deteriorated economic status in Egypt.
No official statement has been released from the presidency on the public outrage, however state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had indeed approved 1.5 million EGP as a reward for each player.
Many questions have circulated about the source of the reward. Some have hypothesized that the entire reward sum will come from the state general budget.
As a result, Egyptian Youth Minister, Khaled Abdel Azizi, said in a televised statement, on privately-run TV channel ‘Sada El-Balad’, that Egypt’s general budget does not have the resources to support the rewards for the national football team players
He instead stated that the Egyptian Federation of Football has many sponsors that may be able to donate up to 400 million EGP, in addition to other funds from FIFA, as a reward for reaching World Cup 2018.
“The Egyptian Football Federation has its own resources and there are many businessmen who will allot funds to players, this is usually what happens,” Abdelaziz stated.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Egyptian Football Federation, Hani Abu Reida, denied in televised statements, on privately-run TV channel ‘On Sport’, that the financial reward to Egypt’s national football team will be paid for from the country’s general budget, going on to say that the circulated information had been ‘rumors’.
No official statement or clarification on these musings have been announced from presidential officials. The source of the social media users’ indignation stemmed from repeated statements from Sisi that Egypt is a ‘poor country’.
The Egyptian people are currently suffering from a bad economic crisis, due to recent measures undertaken by the Egyptian government to decrease the state’s subsidy on main commodities such as fuel.