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Egypt to hold Premier League on schedule, behind closed doors

Premier League will begin as scheduled on 2 February, albeit behind closed doors, EFA Chairman Gamal Allam confirms Monday

Eslam Omar, Monday 21 Jan 2013
Port Said stadium
Blood is seen on a chair one day after supporters clashed at the Port Said stadium February 2, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Chairman Gamal Allam on Monday confirmed that Egypt's Premier League would begin as scheduled on 2 February, albeit behind closed doors.

"League matches will be held in the absence of fans," Allam said before the Shura Council's youth and sports committee on Monday at a committee meeting convened to discuss a proposed law against hooliganism.

All Egyptian domestic football activities have been suspended since last February, when 72 Ahly fans were killed and hundreds injured in Port Said stadium. The case – in which several security officers have been implicated – is expected to see a verdict next Saturday, one day after the 25 January Revolution's second anniversary.

Hardcore fans groups, meanwhile, especially the Ultras Ahlawy and the Ultras Devils, have vowed to gather in the thousands to protest the court's anticipated 'unsatisfying' ruling.  

"The proposed hooliganism law needs more discussion. It's very important to the future of Egyptian football," Allam said at the meeting. "All fan groups must participate in the debate over the new regulations."

Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily fan groups, along with several others, boycotted the meeting to protest the idea of drafting a hooliganism law that "contradicts freedoms and rights."

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