Zamalek transfer ban deadline threat extended

Ghana's Benjamin Acheampong
Ghana’s Benjamin Acheampong joined Zamalek in September 2017, only to cancel his contract 11 months later

Zamalek’s deadline for paying former player Benjamin Acheampong over $1m has been extended beyond 31 March after the Egyptian giants requested the full reasoning for Fifa’s decision.

On 1 March, Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee instructed the Cairo club to pay the money to the Ghanaian, as instructed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), by the end of the month.

The five-time champions would have had to pay around $1.1m by 31 March or face a transfer ban had the club not requested the full grounds, which it did within 10 days of the decision as per legal stipulations.

Once Zamalek receive the detailed reasoning from Fifa, which has yet to happen, they will have 21 days to appeal, also at Cas.

“Please note that the grounds of the decision have not been notified to the parties,” Fifa said in a statement to BBC Sport Africa.

“Therefore, Fifa is not in a position to comment further.”

In December, sport’s highest legal body Cas ruled that Zamalek must pay Acheampong, 30, after determining that the player was forced into breaking his contract by the club’s actions.

Cas found the Ghanaian had ‘no other option but to terminate’ his contract in 2018, citing – among other reasons – his lack of proper payment as well as his exclusion from both training and the squad for his second season at the club.

Now back in Cairo with El Dakhleya FC after a spell away from Egypt, the player has said he is prepared to wait for his money, which is likely to take six months at the very least, and probably far longer, if Zamalek do indeed appeal.

“It is not easy at all but I will be strong,” Acheampong, a former Ghanaian youth international, told BBC Sport Africa.

He has previously explained that he burned through his savings after not being paid his proper salary while at Zamalek.

In a separate move, the club once insisted – in vain – that the player had given away his over half of his contractual income when signing a ‘waiver’ shortly before going out loan in early 2018.

Sport's highest legal body CAS deemed the contract waiver signed by Achemapong in 2018 to be 'immoral'
Sport’s highest legal body CAS deemed the contract waiver signed by Achemapong in 2018 to be ‘immoral’

In addition to the threat of a transfer ban, Zamalek were also fined $30,000 by Fifa – with that fine now on hold.

Last month’s decision indicated that Fifa was not persuaded by evidence presented by Zamalek claiming to have reached agreement with former Egypt captain Nader El Sayed, now an agent, that Acheampong had settled for just $250,000.

El Sayed told the BBC that he was still representing Acheampong even though the Ghanaian maintained he had not seen the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations champion, capped over 100 times by Egypt, in over three years.

Yet this did not stop both El Sayed and Zamalek presenting three documents bearing Acheampong’s name to Fifa.

The player told the BBC he had signed none of them.

Zamalek are one of the biggest clubs in Egypt, Africa, where their tally of five African club crowns is only beaten by great rivals Al Ahly, and the Middle East.

They have twice contested – and twice lost – the African Champions League final in the last five years.

The BBC has approached Zamalek for comment but received no reply.

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