Egypt’s Handball Champions Reward for Historic Victory Causes Controversy

Egypt’s Handball Champions Reward for Historic Victory Causes Controversy

Credit: IHF

Note to readers: The Handball Federation has clarified initial statements about the award. The article below has not been updated for content. However, the full statement (in Arabic) clarifying further information about the award and other financial information is embedded in the video below.

The Federation’s President clarified that it is the Ministry of Youth and Sports that is responsible for providing financial rewards to the players, and that the Federation itself does not normally provide rewards. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has rewarded each player EGP 150,000. Meanwhile, the Federation has provided financial rewards to each player not for their success, but for their participation in the competition. Each player received USD 1,500 and not EGP 1,500 as the Federation’s President had previously inferred.

Egypt’s U-19 handball team made history on Sunday night after defeating Germany 32-28 to become the first ever non-European country to win the 2019 Men’s Youth World Handball Championship.

Hours after the historic victory, which saw the Young Pharaohs widely praised on social media, Egypt’s Handball Federation announced that each player would only be awarded EGP 1,500 ($US 90) for their efforts.

Hisham Nasr, the President of the Egyptian Handball Federation, was asked on live television by Amr Adeeb about “rumours” that the successful handball players would only receive EGP 1,500.

“Is this true or are they joking?” asked Amr Adeeb.

In response, Nasr initially said he “does not want to talk about this matter…this is the limit of the federation”, before being pressed further by Adeeb.

“The one who wins the World Championship is given EGP 1,500?” asked Adeeb with bemusement.

“From the Ministry [of Youth and Sports] there is a probably a bigger reward, but from the [Egyptian Handball] Federation, we do not have resources to give them a lot of rewards,” said Nasr to Adeeb before adding that the Federation generally does not even have the capability to provide any rewards at all.

“We rely entirely on the Ministry [of Youth and Sports] and the government,” said Nasr.

In relation to the Egyptian national handball team – which also historically finished in third place at the 2019 IHF World Championships – Nasr revealed they did not receive any financial rewards from the Federation.

“These people who won the bronze medal must be honoured!” stressed Adeeb, adding that the Egyptian government needs to do more.

At this stage, it is unclear what the reward amount will be from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In later unconfirmed statements reported in some Egyptian media outlets, Nasr was quoted as saying that the Ministry had decided to reward each player EGP 120,000 ($US 7,237). This amount would not come from the Egyptian Handball Federation itself, but from the Ministry. As at the time of publication, the Ministry has not released any official statements or declarations about this matter.

Egypt’s top athletes in areas other than football had traditionally been paid very little despite their successes. In 2016, Egyptian Streets uncovered that some of Egypt’s top athletes are paid just EGP 1,500 a month.

The issue is particularly concerning for Egyptian athletes who are not sponsored by major brands. Nasr mentioned in his interview with Adeeb that the Egyptian Handball Federation had no such ties with major brands.

While national football team players may earn tens of thousands from appearing in advertisements, other national athletes often do not receive such media attention.

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Egypt U19 Handball Team Beat Germany to Become World Champions

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