Egypt’s Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhy decided to reduce Amr Warda’s suspension to the end of first round of the Africa Cup of Nations, according to an official statement released by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) on Friday, June 28.
The EFA reversed its decision regarding Warda’s banishment from the national team at a meeting held the night of Thursday, June 27 in the presence of the Sports Minister Hani Abou Rida, head of the EFA.
Sobhy applauded the squad’s sympathetic spirit and intense desire to have their teammate back, calling on the EFA to forgive him, the statement read.
Several players on the national team have shown their support for their colleague, calling during the past 48 hours for his return.
“My celebration was for Warda, who is a member of our big family. We are all humans and we all make mistakes. We will not abandon him,” said Elmohamady, who raised Warda’s T-shirt during the confrontation between Egypt and Congo to show solidarity, he told Time Sports Channel.
Playmaker Trezeguet stated, “If any player makes a mistake, the fans should support him, because we are one team and one family, and if we win the title we will win it together,” The Star news website reported.
Salah suggested in two tweets that the Egyptian Football Federation (EFA) decision to ban Amr Warda in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal was too expeditious.
The EFA excluded Egyptian footballer Amr Warda from the national team’s 23-player squad on account of his immoral behavior amid accusations of sexual harassment.
Although Salah didn’t directly state Warda’s name in the tweets, social media users and dozens of media outlets were certain that he referred to the Warda crisis.
Claiming that Warda’s exclusion from the national team is “shunning”, he said that this should not be the answer and stressed that people should believe in second chances. “We need to guide and educate,” he added on Twitter.
In the other tweet he emphasized that women should be treated with the utmost respect, commenting, “’No’ means ‘no’,” referring to Warda’s undue pressuring for women to become involved with him. Salah also affirmed that such principles should be forever sacred.
Predictably, Mo Salah’s tweets circulated across social media in no time. Some social media users supported Salah’s statements, while others stressed that Warda has been given too many chances already.
Meanwhile, Warda faced the crisis in a video, apologizing to those who were “upset” by his behavior.
The video was posted right after Wednesday’s confrontation between Egypt and DR Congo in which Egypt secured two goals, one by Salah and the other by Ahmed Elmohamady.
“I apologize for what I did. I apologize to my family, I apologize to [my fellow] players, I apologize to the Egyptian Football Association and to anyone who is upset at me or anyone I have upset. I am sorry,” Warda stated in the video.
Warda was cut from the national team due to misbehavior and inappropriate actions, in particular lewd messages sent to the model Merhan Keller that sparked outrage a few days ago.
Thus Warda was temporarily denied the opportunity to represent Egypt on the national team and was obliged to immediately leave the Egyptian team’s camp, no longer to participate in the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The story began when Keller stated on her Instagram account that four player from the national team including Amr Warda, Mahmoud Hamdy, Hassan Kouka, and Ayman Ashraf had been harassing her on social media networks.
Hours after Keller’s stories went viral across social media, a Mexican model made a post and alleged that it was Warda in the posted video, featured in an alarmingly unethical position. The video in no time ignited anger on social media.
“The video spread through social networking sites is fabricated by someone. I do not know why he did it,” Warda told the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk.
“Someone displayed my picture on someone else’s face in a video that went viral across the media,” he stated, adding that he had no idea why this is happening to him now.