If you haven’t already seen this video and almost vomited from disgust, you will now after looking beyond the barbaric actions of Youssef Omar and his team’s assault on the referee, to see what the underlying triggers were.
For those of you who don’t read Arabic, here’s a rough translation of the above: “We always get unfairly treated by the referees, and we were surprised by several things including the switching of venues despite us asking for a “neutral” ground. The referee was provoking the team (Al Nahda) with his whistle, and that is what I told the 4th referee Jamil Ramadan. It’s as if there is a plan to prevent Al Nahda from qualifying for the premier league in Lebanon, for certain reasons and motives”
The sectarian influence is evident in this statement, with Seifeddine referring to the stadium on the Airport Road as “non-neutral” in reference to the predominantly Shiite population while the Al Nahda club’s traditionally considered a predominantly Sunni club. His allegations that there seems to be an ulterior motive to prevent the club from qualifying is also a poorly-veiled reference to sectarian divides.
The sectarian considerations, coupled with the disgusting match-fixing scandals plaguing Lebanese football will undoubtedly push the underpaid and disgruntled players to do the unforgivable: attack a referee. It’s sad to see that politics and religion corrupt everything in Lebanon (and the world for that matter, where we see fundamentalist Islamist groups hijacking the Arab Spring and refusing to adhere to the secular principles the revolts were based upon).
Personally, I am not very surprised. Corruption + no financing + religious fervor always = shit. I am a bit disappointed by Al Salam Zgharta, my town’s football team, for not living up to their name and protecting the referee from being given the beat-down of his life from the Al Nahda club.
The player who attacked the referee has been suspended for a year. I think the punishment should be much, much heavier, maybe some prison time too.
It’s sad to see the one thing that made Lebanon proud for a brief time, has now followed suit like everything else in this country: succumbed to religious fundamentalism and corruption.
Sources: Figo29 and The Daily Star