Gezira Sporting Club
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2011)|
|Headquarters||Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt|
|Key people||Yasser Farnawany Chairman|
The Gezira Sporting Club (Arabic: نادى الجزيرة الرياضى, transliteration:nādī al-ǧazyrah al-reyādī) is the largest multi-sport facility in Egypt. It was founded in 1882 and was originally called Khedivial Sporting Club. It is located on the island of Zamalek in Cairo.
The 150-acre (0.61 km2) grounds of the Gezira Sporting Club were initially carved out of the Khedivial Botanical Gardens, and as a result acacias and gardens continue to decorate the area. After the land had been formally leased to the British military command in 1882, club rules were licensed and the land was divided into several recreational playing grounds. At first, the club was for the exclusive use of the British Army.
Membership was restricted to applicants elected by the committee, on the recommendation of two members, although British army officers were automatically enrolled. There were about 750 members. The entrance fee was E£ 2. The various subscriptions were as follows:
- Life members: E£50.
- Resident members (married): E£5.
- Resident members (unmarried): E£3.6.
- Country members (those living outside a radius of 23 kilometers from the Cairo Post Office in Attaba Square): E£2.
Guests could visit the club whenever accompanied by those members by purchasing Day Passes for 5 piastres.
In 1906, the club members asked the Egyptian government for ownership, but their request was refused. Instead, they were granted a 60-year lease.
The exclusive character of the club continued until after World War II. In January 1952, the club was nationalized and became a public club. By this point, most members of the Gezira Sporting Club were Egyptians, but the club's members were from society's elite. As a result of nationalization, the ethos and structure of the club were to be altered during the Nasser regime. Half of its eighteen-hole golf course were given over to a youth club built by the Egyptian government on the club premises (making it a nine-hole course).
In the early 1960s, the Egyptian government once again took over the club's premises, this time taking half of the club's land to make room for a public club called the Al Ahly Club, promoting sports among all Egyptians. Much of what was deemed as a traditionally aristocratic asset was nationalized for the benefit of the poorer majority. These actions made the Egyptian president at the time, Gamal Abdel Nasser, loved and popular among the middle and lower classes of Egypt.
During Anwar Al Sadat's presidency, a new elevated highway (the 6th October Bridge) was built over the remaining nine-hole golf course and six-furlong racecourse causing the size of the club to further erode.
What had started as a British military club evolved into one of Egypt's greatest outdoor attractions. Over the next five decades Gezira Sporting Club remained both a landmark and one of Cairo's greatest assets continuing to this day.
As of 2012, membership was estimated to consist of 43,000 families.
- About the course
- 18 holes (played on 9 fairways), Par 70, 5,860 yards (5,360 m), rating 68, three tees.
- Who can play
- Annual members
- Golf services
- Pro Shop, caddies, trolleys, driving range, club rental
Since 1907, Gezira Sporting Club has been the official home of Egypt's lawn tennis with open tournaments and championships regularly held on its clay courts. From 1925, international celebrities took part in these widely attended events.
Despite the launch of the Egyptian Lawn Tennis Association Championship in 1934, Gezira Sporting Club continued to offer its two cups:
The Gezira swimming team was founded in the early 20th century. Now is one of the strong swimming teams in the Egyptian Premier National Championships. It is ranked 13th out of 33 clubs.
There are currently around forty sports played in Gezira Sporting Club. Some are:
Like other large clubs in Egypt, the Gezira Sporting Club is currently in the process of building another branch. The planned location is in the 6th of October City. The club had signed a contract for 50 acres (20 ha) of land and construction has started.
- Helmy, Heba (3 March 2012). "Four clubs, four communities: The Gezira Sporting Club". Egypt Independent. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- Abu-Fadil, Magda (August 8, 2013). "Is the Gezira Club Still the "In" Place in Cairo?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- Gezira Sporting Club, Worldgolf.