Politicians are flirting with football fans on the surface of political and sporting events in Tunisia and sparking controversy on social media platforms in conjunction with the peak of the presidential election campaigns and intensified competition for the presidency in the ballot scheduled for next Sunday.
The emergence of election candidates carrying the jerseys of a number of football clubs or their official slogans raised the issue of confusing politics and sport with some trying to win an electoral base by wooing football fans.
Only a week has passed since Tunisian Football Federation President Wadih al-Jarir took part in the election campaign for one of the candidates and other sportsmen lined up behind each other.
Attract the fans of the ball
While the reaction of the sports community to the spread of pictures of jerseys of sports clubs in the rounds of election candidates in various parts of the country, many bloggers and activists condemned the use of sports teams as an electoral card to reach the presidential chair.
One of the candidates sparked controversy earlier this week in the central city of Kairouan when he appeared among thousands of supporters wearing the shirt of the youth club of Kairouan, the biggest club in the region after receiving it from a fan.
The incident sparked violent reactions in sports circles, which prompted the club to issue an official statement in which he disowned the support of one of the candidates, stressing that "the youth of Kairouan stand the same distance towards all candidates for the presidential elections."
In turn, Kairouan youth president Mohamed Mamni denounced the club's involvement in the "political game," noting that the board was surprised to see one of the candidates exploiting the club's shirt, which represents all Tunisians and is not limited to a particular political party.
Mamni told Al Jazeera Net "We reject any attempt to get our team into the political affairs, we are neutral on all candidates and will not allow the use of the club's official shirt and slogan to attract our fans for electoral purposes, what a fan did not commit the club."
Facebook activists have campaigned against club officials for what they see as collusion to serve some candidates, make football a ride for political parties and bridge some election candidates to expand their popularity among football fans.
A number of supporters of another candidate published pictures of his tours in some provinces last week, carrying the shirts of a number of football clubs and his ranking number in the voting processes, but the reactions quickly swept the pages of the call to leave sports away from the conflict of parties.
The Federation of Monastiris announced on its official Facebook page that it rejected the inclusion of the club and its fans in the maze of politics, while the positions of condemning the use of the ball in the election campaigns to reach power.
A failed electoral paper
Tunisian presidential candidates did not stand up for the fans when they lifted club shirts and official slogans, but included singing their crowns and titles.In its first meeting among its supporters in the region of Bab Souika, the bastion of Tunisian club Esperance, the candidate listed the latest achievements of the team, which raised different positions among the fans.
According to sports analyst and critic Fathi Mouldi, the use of presidential candidates by football club shirts to woo voters is a serious political and communication mistake and a plan that may have the opposite effect as he put it.
Mouloudi told Al Jazeera Net that "it is certain that the resort of politicians to tickle the feelings of the masses of some teams will turn them on the masses of a number of other clubs if it does not cause the loss of supporters of all teams, I see that the rush of presidential candidates to raise football jerseys in order to get closer to the masses is a scorched election paper A desperate attempt will not affect one iota on their chances in the election race. "
"Football fans are part of the social fabric and have a level of intelligence that prevents them from falling into the maze of childish practices of politicians and adopting a ride to win an important electoral reservoir."