The crisis caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has left no sector untouched, which has in turn cast a shadow on the resources of Egypt’s sporting clubs. The situation has pushed some clubs to offer discounts and promotions to attract new members, while others witnessed no change in policy.
The coronavirus crisis did not prevent Cairo giants, Al Ahly SC, from raising its membership fee starting in April, as announced by the club’s President Mahmoud El-Khatib.
Al Ahly increased the club membership from EGP 500,000 to EGP 750,000 – EGP 1m for its Gezira branch. The club also increased the membership fees from EGP 175,000 to EGP 250,000 – EGP 400,000 at its Sheikh Zayed branch, and from EGP 200,000 to EGP 250,000 – EGP 400,000 for the Fifth Settlement branch.
In line with the country’s social distancing measures to curb the virus’ spread, Al Ahly allowed for membership renewal to take place through the club’s mobile application, with membership cards to be delivered in July.
According to Khaled Al-Dirandali, the club’s treasurer, Al Ahly’s revenues from membership fees reached EGP 70m in the past fiscal year.
Al-Dirandali stated that the club’s membership reached 200,000 households in Gezira and Nasr City branches, in addition to 7,000 members in the Sheikh Zayed branch.
Zamalek SC, meanwhile, opened the door for annual membership renewal through electronic payment network Fawry, besides the traditional channels at the club’s headquarters, starting in June.
The club’s President Mortada Mansour has delayed membership fees payment until the end of June without additional charges. He also decided to reduce late payment charges from EGP 1,000 to EGP 350.
Mansour said that so far only 45,000 people have paid their Zamalek membership renewal fees, while the late payments have reached EGP 106m.
He stressed that the club is ready to schedule membership dues, provided that the members pay part of the amount.
UFC Egypt, which is responsible for managing sporting activities at the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ Al-Nady SC, has signed cooperation protocols with six sporting academies to attract new members.
The contracted academies include Anderlecht Academy, Coachium Tennis Academy, Swim Academy, Hard Work Academy, Captain Amir Wajih Squash Academy, and Lubna Arousi Gymnastics.
Moreover, Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports, said the new protocols will contribute to training young generations to participate in local and international tournaments benefiting of expertise and professionalism those academies possess.
Fawzy Attia, Chairperson of the Club’s Board of Trustees, said they always seeking the assistance of distinguished entities in the private sector. The cooperation protocols will contribute to increasing membership on the back of the contracted academies’ good reputation.
Attia pointed out that the sports facilities at the club, which were established to the latest engineering and technological level, will assist the academies in implementing their plans.
He told Daily News Egypt that Al-Nady SC was launched by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to act the upgraded version of local youth centres, with the assistance of the private sector in management and operation.
He added that the club’s membership fees amount to EGP 80,000. Al-Nady’s board of trustees aims to increase the number of its members to 20,000 during its first five years of operation.
Attia revealed that the club’s investments in the 6th of October branch amounted to EGP 650m, with the ministry preparing to open a new branch in Heliopolis. The Ministry of Youth and Sports is also studying the establishment of another branch at Cairo International Stadium, as part of a wider plan to transfer the stadium to an investment authority.