x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Walter Zenga appeals Dh2,000 fine for calling reporter's question 'stupid'

Italian football coach Walter Zinga appeals against his Dh2,000 fine for calling a reporter's question 'stupid'. With video

Walter Zenga, the Al Nasr coach.
Walter Zenga, the Al Nasr coach.

ABU DHABI // Walter Zenga, the former Italian international goalkeeper who is now coach for the Pro League’s Al Nasr, is appealing against a Dh2,000 fine he was issued for calling a reporter’s question “stupid”.

Mr Zenga did not show up in court yesterday, but his lawyer said he wished to continue with the appeal, despite having already paid the fine.

“He should have attended because the question that was asked was very normal,” said Dr Khairi Al Kabbash, head of the Appeals Court. “He shouldn’t have told him ‘stupid question’.”

Mr Zenga made the remark during a televised press conference in February after Al Nasr drew 1-1 with Al Wahda in the Etisalat Pro League.

Mumen Mahmoud, a reporter from the Sharjah based Al Khaleej, asked him why Al Nasr were focusing on defence rather than attack, given that a number of leading players from Al Wahda were not playing. Mr Zenga told the reporter it was a stupid question and that he doesn’t answer stupid questions.

He then argued with the reporter, saying the team doesn’t play defensively and told him that “you should have respect for the club, for me and for the club”.

The reporter asked Mr Zenga why his question was stupid, insisting that it was relevant to the match.

He then decided to leave in objection to the “disrespect” he had been shown. As he walked out, Mr Zenga shouted: “Bye, bye. Enjoy your time.” The reporter replied: “You too – have a nice day with your game results.”

At which the coach signed off with: “I will enjoy my time with football, but you are nothing, you are nobody.”

The reporter filed a police complaint and Mr Zenga was convicted of slander at the Misdemeanour Court.

A verdict was scheduled for September 13.

hdajani@thenational.ae