Issue 286, Friday 22 February 2013 - 12 Rabi' al-Akhar 1434
Footballer flashing ‘Allah is Great’ T-shirt escapes punishment
By Elham Asaad Buaras
Mubarak Wakaso (left) was booked for this celebration; but will escape further punishment
According to Ghanaian media Mubarak Wakaso is unlikely to be punished by Confederation of African Football (CAF) over the words on his T-shirt during his celebration in an Africa Cup of Nations match.
The Ghanian was booked for parading a slogan when he lifted up his T-shirt to reveal ‘Allah is Great’ emblazoned on another T-shirt during the match against Mali on January 24 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Under FIFA rules players are not allowed to display political or religious slogans on the field.
The decision not to punish the midfielder is likely to be influenced by the fact that CAF would have been accused of religious bias in strictly following a FIFA rule which the world’s football governing body has failed to uphold in the past.
Christian Brazilian striker openly wore an ‘I Belong to Jesus’ T-shirt during Brazil’s 2002 World Cup, and Milan’s 2004 Scudetto and 2007 Champions League triumphs.
He also had the same phrase, along with ‘God Is Faithful’, stitched onto the tongues of his boots. During the post match celebration following Brazil’s 4–1 win over Argentina in the 2005, FIFA Confederations Cup final, he and several of his teammates wore T-shirts that read ‘Jesus Loves You’ in various languages.
South African star Steven Pienaar has also celebrated with a ‘God is Great’ message emblazoned on his T-shirt during a match but was not punished.