Egypt suspends footballer over pro-Sisi hand sign

CAIRO – The Egyptian Football Association on Thursday suspended a footballer for making a hand sign indicating support for army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Salah Amin, a striker for army football team Tala`ea al-Gaish, was suspended until the end of the current season and fined $2,800 for making a political gesture during a February Premier League match, according to the association`s website.

Amin was questioned by a disciplinary panel over photos showing that he had traced a "C" sign with his hand – largely perceived as a sign of support for al-Sisi.

Online activists shared photos of the footballer flashing the sign after scoring a goal during a league match against the Ismaili football club.

At the time, Amin had insisted the sign had nothing to do with the army chief, who is widely seen as the driving force behind the army`s July 3 ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Egyptians generally use "CC" to refer to the army chief, who is also widely expected to contest Egypt`s upcoming presidential elections.

Last December, the football association threatened to punish players who used political signs or gestures during Egyptian league matches.

One month earlier, Cairo`s Al-Ahly football club put a prominent striker up for sale after he flashed the four-fingered Rabaa sign during a game.

The now-famous hand-sign commemorates hundreds of Morsi supporters killed during the security forces violent dispersal last summer of their sit-in in eastern Cairo.

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