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March 12, 2012
AIPS president attends Al-Ahram Al-Arabi Sports Awards

AIPS President Gianni Merlo presented Egypt's Minister of Sports Dr Emad El-Banani and Al-Ahram's Board Chairman Abdel-Fatah El-Gebali copies of the History of AIPS written by AIPS Honorary Member Jose Maria Lorente of Spain. Photo/ ESPA
by Inas Mazhar, Member AIPS Handball Commission
CAIRO, March 12, 2012 - AIPS president Gianni Merlo spent a two- day visit in Cairo, Egypt where he was invited by Al-Ahram Newspaper to attend the Award Ceremony of the annual Al-Ahram Al-Arabi Magazine for the Best Arab Sports Athletes and sports media in the Arab World.

During his visit, the AIPS also met with the executive board of the Egyptian Sports Press Association and discussed the future of the association with upcoming elections later this month.

The event was organized by the famous and widely- spread Al-Ahram Newspaper, the oldest and largest in the Arab Region and the Middle East. Al-Ahram Al- Arabi Magazine is one of the 19 different publications of Al-Ahram.

It was a long and busy day, starting with three different sessions (symposiums) in the occasion, allocated for the future of the Arab Sports Media in the wake of the Arab Spring, how to face these problems and how to find solutions in order to overcome them.

The first session discussed the challenges facing the written press while the second dealt with radio and TV Sports programmes.

A special session was allocated to Major General Jibril Al-Rajoub, president of the Palestine Football Association and the National Olympic Committee of Palestine in which he spoke about the obstacles that both sports teams and media as well are facing in Palestine because of Israeli occupation. He called the world to support the Palestine cause and recognize its sportsmen and women and help sports media in doing their job.

Al-Rajoub praised the efforts and initiatives of the AIPS president Mr Merlo in trying to fix the relationship between the Israeli and Palestine sports media so they can work together in peace. He thanked the AIPS president for accepting his invitation to hold the executive committee meeting in May in Palestine.

Al-Rajoub also revealed the intention to hold a big football match between the team of Palestine and an Arab-selection team in the same occasion.

The final session was allocated to the AIPS president who took the stage to address Egyptian and Arab sports media as well as top sports officials in Egypt including the Minister of Sports and head of the National Sports Council in Egypt Emad El-Banani.

Through an online presentation from the AIPS website, the AIPS president spoke about the history of the AIPS, displayed videos from the last 75th Congress in Innsbruck, Austria, introduced the Young Reporters' program and showed other videos reflecting the activities of the AIPS.

Mr Merlo also spoke about different issues facing sports media around the world and the role of the AIPS to help solving the problems and ensuring that sports media work in perfect conditions. He also stressed that the sports media should recognize themselves as Premier League media not Second League and if they believe in that, then this is how they would be treated and how they would develop their career.

Mr Merlo spoke about the importance of uniting the different sports media generations through nurturing the young reporters, reaching out to them and teaching them, as well as exchanging experiences with them, considering the new generation of sports media journalists as the 'media spring'.

He also spoke about the Conference or symposium that was held in Lausanne regarding match-fixing and corruption and the importance of organizing similar conferences on the same topic because it is vital for sports media to learn how these things happen and how to report on them.

According to the AIPS president match-fixing and sports corruption are very dangerous issues that sports media should be aware of.

Following the sessions, the Ceremony of the Awards of the 'Oscars of the Arab Sports' took place in which the AIPS president was awarded the 'Gold Pyramid' of Al-Ahram by its Board Chairman Abdel-Fatah El-Gebali. Mr Merlo presented the AIPS History Book to both, Egypt's Minister of Sports Dr Emad El-Banani and Al-Ahram's Board Chairman Abdel-Fatah El-Gebali.

In the evening, the guests were entertained at a Dinner Gala on a Nile Cruise in Cairo.

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