Lebanon coach Miodrag Radulovic hits out at ref after Qatar defeat

Miodrag Radulovic was incensed after Lebanon's defeat at the hands of Qatar. (AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019
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Lebanon coach Miodrag Radulovic hits out at ref after Qatar defeat

  • Miodrag Radulovic claims the Cedars were playing against 12 men.
  • Qatar won the Group E clash 2-0 in Al Ain.

Lebanon coach Miodrag Radulovic said his team were playing “against 12 or 13” as he slammed the referee in an extended rant after Wednesday’s Asian Cup defeat by Qatar.
Radulovic said Chinese referee Ma Ning had ruined Lebanon’s chances by ruling out a first-half goal which would have put them 1-0 up against the 2022 World Cup hosts.
Qatar eventually won the Group E game 2-0 after second-half goals from Bassam Al-Rawi and Almoez Ali, leaving Lebanon waiting for their first ever Asian Cup win.
“It’s difficult to talk after such a game because I teach my team to play 11 against 11 players, but (this was) 11 against 12 or 13, meaning the referees,” fumed the Montenegrin.
“When you play... perfect, tactically disciplined, you score 1-0 and they steal our goal, it’s very difficult to continue after that,” he added.
Ali Hamam’s volley on 39 minutes was ruled out for a shove by Lebanon’s George Felix Melki, a decision that enraged the animated Radulovic on the touchline.
Qatar finally got their breakthrough 20 minutes into the second half from a free-kick just outside the box which was given for Hassan Maatouk’s handball.
Radulovic claimed the officiating was “not 50-50,” saying that Qatar committed “more than 20 fouls” but did not receive any yellow cards.
“We played textbook football but we’re a poor country, we don’t have a budget like Qatar and you can’t compare with them on this,” Radulovic said.
“When they canceled the goal, my players lost concentration, they lost confidence, they saw what happened and it was very difficult after that to continue with such a game,” he added.
“They broke our morale and our confidence.”
However, Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said he had no complaints about the officiating and that he agreed with the decision to disallow Lebanon’s goal.
“I think the goal was a foul. I saw the replay on TV... and I agree with (the officials),” said the Spaniard.


Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 18 June 2019
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Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

  • Tazkarti will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament

CAIRO: Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) host country Egypt has launched an online ticketing platform called Tazkarti, which will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament, which begins June 22.

Its aim is to combat ticket touts and black market sales for the continent’s biggest football tournament, and to ensure that ticket prices remain fixed at the price decided by the AFCON organizing committee. It is also a measure of the steps Egypt is taking to ensure that the tournament passes peacefully. 

Football stadiums have been almost entirely empty since 2011 because of security issues after long-time President Hosni Mubarak stepped down following national protests in which football fans played a major role, resulting in violent, often lethal, clashes with police and between rival fans.

In 2012, Port Said stadium witnessed a riot that left 72 Al-Ahly supporters dead after a pitch invasion by Masri supporters at the end of a Premier League game. In 2015, 19 Zamalek fans were killed and 20 injured when police attempted to disperse large crowds making their way into a Cairo stadium to attend a Premier League game. 

Those were just two of several incidents that meant authorities imposed a ban on people attending football matches or severely restricted the number of people that could do so.

Every AFCON ticket purchased via Tazkarti will be scanned at the stadium to ensure it matches the holder’s “Fan ID.” If it does not, the holder will not be allowed into the ground.

Tickets for matches featuring the Egyptian national team range from 200 to 2,500 Egyptian pounds ($12-$150), while other matches range from 100 to 500 Egyptian pounds ($6 to $30).

While those prices might sound affordable to outsiders, in a country where a doctor earns around $90 to $179 per month, many have found themselves priced out of the tournament already.

“I am a married dentist with three kids. If I want to attend a match with my family, I would have to pay 1,000 pounds ($60), (not including) transportation and snacks,” Dr. M. Sheta, who lives in Damietta, told Arab News.

“To book a cinema ticket nowadays ranges between 70 and 100 pounds and a good meal costs 100 pounds minimum. If I can afford that, then I can afford AFCON tickets,” said a housewife in Mansoura, who asked to remain anonymous.

Plenty of young Egyptians took to social media to express their displeasure with the ticket prices.

“This is a clear message that middle-class Egyptians are not welcome,” said Ahmed Zahran.

“I would rather pay a total of 10 pounds at any coffee shop and watch the matches there,” said Ahmed El-Tlabanty.

Some fans believe that the prices have been set high to discourage Ultras (the most passionate football fans) from attending.

An administrator of the “Ultras Ahlawy” Facebook group, while stressing that he hoped supporters “have fun watching AFCON,” asked Arab News: “Why would I pay 200 pounds to watch a match? I do not (make hundreds of pounds).”

Aside from issues with the high prices, people have also been widely critical of the technical performance of the new ticketing platform, which has been under pressure from high demand for Fan IDs.

“You guys are so disrespectful and unprofessional. I’ve been trying to reach out for more than two weeks and no one is answering — not on messenger nor the hotline. You made the whole championship experience the worst,” wrote Fatma El-Dardiry. “I called your customer service at least five times, placed three complaints and texted you on Facebook more than once. Now, the tickets of cat 1 and 2 for the opening match have already sold out.”