FIFA World Cup 2018: Egypt Goalkeeper Declines Award Because It Was Sponsored By Beer Giant

Mohamed El-Shenawy wins hearts after denying the 'man of the match' award after stellar performance against Uruguay in FIFA World Cup 2018

29-year-old Mohamed El-Shenawy, the goalkeeper of Egypt team, declined the ‘Man of the Match’ award as it conflicted with his religious beliefs. The trophy, which is shaped like a red goblet, was sponsored by beer giant Budweiser. Egypt team director Ihab Leheta confirmed to AP that though El-Shenawy posed for photographs in a brief post-match ceremony, he refused to accept the goblet.

“It is up to each one,” he said.

El-Shenawy won the award for his impressive performance in the FIFA World Cup match against Uruguay at Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg on June 15 where Egypt lost to the Latin American country by 1-0. El-Shenawy made every attempt to deny Uruguay any early goals but Jose Giminez broke through Egypt’s defences and scored in the 89th minute. Although Uruguay won the match, social media was abuzz with celebrating Mohamed El-Shenawy’s saves.

The Egyptian goalkeeper’s photo of refusing to take the MOTM award also went viral.

Though this is not the first time that an award sponsored by an alcoholic beverage maker was declined. In 2012, Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure did not accept the MOTM award in the form of champagne after a British Premier League match. After the incident, the league changed the design of the award. However, FIFA as such has no such policy for members of all-Muslim squad regarding prizes linked to alcohol.

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Egypt is playing their first World Cup since 1990 and is not the only Muslim-majority country playing in the tournament, others being Saudi Arabia, Iran, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria and Tunisia. Egypt will play their next match against Russia on June 19 and against Saudi Arabia on June 25.

(Written by Abhijeet Ghumman)