World soccer body FIFA has dispatched investigators to Egypt to probe allegations of government interference as the country prepares for potentially risky bids to host two international tournaments, the 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup and the 2018 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup.
An Egyptian court has sentenced 12 militant soccer fans to five years in prison in an expansion of the military-backed regime's crackdown on its Islamist and non-Islamists opponents that could ultimately re-position soccer as a major platform of protest.
It has been three years since the Egyptian revolution, and news out of Egypt has become a tinderbox for all sorts of melodrama: anger, fear, resignation, apathy and downright hysteria.
Egyptian soccer is adding salt to the run-up to presidential elections that are certain to be won by the country's strongman, newly retired general Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, with the announcement of the controversial chairman of one of Egypt's foremost clubs that he too was a presidential candidate.
Brotherhood supporters have been massacred, arrested, tortured and sentenced to die en masse. And yet, as the new leaders in Cairo (and the old ones in Riyadh) have argued, the UK appears to suspect that it is the Brotherhood who are the terrorists.
Mr. Hamdi, a former soccer player and Al Ahli captain, has headed the club, whose supporters played a key role in toppling Mr. Mubarak and have clashed repeatedly in recent months with security forces, for 12 years.
Human rights lawyers say the verdicts are subject to appeal and are likely be overturned. But many worry that the verdict, which has angered millions of Morsi supporters, will compel some Brotherhood members to take up violence, a move that will justify an even heavier crackdown.
I don't blame you for being just a little confused about the different claimants to the mantle of "the people" in the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Egypt. In all three cases, people went to the polls and elected governments, and then the people went out onto the streets to reject those very same governments.
In a rare demonstration of unity, several groups of militant soccer fans have thrown down a gauntlet for the Egyptian interior ministry and its security forces by effectively demanding ownership of sports stadia.
The Egyptian military clearly has the upper hand at this time, but their hold on power is ultimately fragile. The younger generation of Egyptians will not likely be satisfied with military rule any more than they were with Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian government's effort to promote soccer and use the sport to garner public support amounts to a double-edged sword.
These powerful paths for connectivity have played a significant role in the destabilizing of authoritarian regimes. Yet with the power of social media come the perils of espionage and the temptation of apathy.
When top-down "solutions" from the Egyptian government, military, or state police seem out of reach or otherwise too fickle to rely on, making space for a community to band together and take matters into their own hands through grassroots restorative justice initiatives is a far more reliable.
Instead of vague musings about restoring democracy, or transition, which only sow confusion and can do harm, the administration needs to recognize the crisis unfolding in Egypt.
In some countries, including the United States, politics and the scarcity of common sense have led to soft power being pushed out of the policy mainstream, consigned to the backwaters of wishful thinking. Correcting this, in the United States at least, will require structural change.
For my recent birthday I gave myself a gift I'd wanted since I was five - no, not a pony, the Pyramids. I've always been obsessed with Ancient Egy...