Egypt keeper storms out to Switzerland

March 29, 2008

CAIRO, March 29 (Reuters) - Egypt goalkeeper Essam Al Hadari packed his bags and left for Switzerland on Saturday, saying he was going to join Swiss club FC Sion, two days after being booed by Egyptian fans during a friendly against Argentina

'I'm going to sign with Sion because nobody could withstand the bad treatment I've been subjected to recently and I can't take any more,' Al Hadari told reporters at Cairo airport, where he was escorted by security guards.

Al Hadari, who helped Egypt to win the African Cup of Nations for the second year in succession in February, fell from grace at home after a previous attempt to join Sion without the consent of his club Al Ahli, the most successful team in Egypt.

He had sought to terminate his contract in line with Article 17 of FIFA's transfer regulations which allows players to cancel their contracts after a 'protected period'.

Al Hadari, 35, had hoped that, because of his extended service at Al Ahli, he would be allowed to end his contract and move to Sion for a compensatory payment of 270,000 euros, the equivalent of the rest of his contract with the Cairo club.

After being unveiled as a new signing by Sion and agreeing a deal until 2011, Al Hadari returned to Egypt at the start of this month when it became clear he could not move because he had not given Al Ahli the required notice.

Al Ahli suspended and fined Al Hadari despite his repeated apologies, while supporters called for the goalkeeper to be expelled from the club and banned from the international side.