Egypt interior ministry disallows resumption of football activity
Egyptian Football Association's hopes of resuming football activity nationwide are dashed by interior ministry's ongoing security concerns
Eslam Omar, Sunday 15 Jul 2012
File photo: Blood is seen on a chair one day after supporters clashed at the Port Said stadium February 2, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
In a surprise move, Egypt's interior ministry has refused to allow the resumption of Egyptian Premier League activities, despite the Egyptian Football Association (EFA)’s preparations in this regard.
"The association received a letter from the interior ministry on Sunday informing them of the ministry's decision not to allow the resumption of football competitions without providing reasons,” EFA spokesman Azmy Megahed told Ahram Online.
In coordination with Egypt's National Sports Council, the EFA confirmed that they had followed all security instructions as laid down by the ministry, declaring that they would be ready to kick off the new season on 24 August.
In late March, the interior ministry called for a series of security precautions to be implemented in the country's stadiums – including video surveillance, metal detectors and emergency exits – aimed at preventing outbreaks of football-related violence.
"We even agreed to limit attendance at matches to around 2000 fans for each team," Megahed said. "But the ministry still disagreed."
Football activities in Egypt were suspended across-the-board in the wake of February's Port Said disaster, which left scores dead and hundreds injured following a league game.
"The ministry's refusal to allow competitions without providing any convincing reason for doing so could lead to the collapse of Egyptian sports," the EFA spokesman warned.
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