The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) will on 2 July announce the exact date when the country’s most popular sport resumes. The 18-team league has been suspended, just like all other sports, since 21 March following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
According to EFA Media Director Osama Ismail, the EFA’s normalisation committee will make the decision on Thursday, based on the outcome of the executive committee meeting of the African Football Association (CAF) which was scheduled to be held on Tuesday 30 June.
The CAF meeting is scheduled to discuss the status of the following competitions: continuation of the qualifiers and final tournament of the Total Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) in Cameroon 2021; the Total African Nations Championship, also in Cameroon 2020; resumption of the 2019-2020 Inter-Clubs Competitions; Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2020; creation of CAF Women’s Champions League; zonal qualifiers of AFCON U17 Morocco 21 and U20 Mauritania 2021; AFCON Beach Soccer 2020; and CAF representatives to the next Beach Soccer World Cup.
“In that meeting, CAF will decide the dates when they would resume the continental competitions, the Champions League and the Confederations Cup which have been suspended as well since March before the semi-finals of both competitions were played,” Ismail told Al-Ahram Weekly.
“Since we have three Egyptian teams taking part in both inter-clubs competitions, we need to know these dates so we can set our league schedule as well as the dates for both the national team and Olympic team who are to build up for the African qualifications to the Nations Cup, World Cup and Olympic Games.
“During the past weeks, the EFA committee has held several meetings with all club officials and coaches as well as with the technical managers of both the senior national team and the U23 Olympic team. They have listened to all their ideas and requests and will now wait for CAF’s meeting to go ahead with setting our own schedule,” he added.
A total of 150 matches remain to be held to conclude the 2019-2020 season of the Egyptian domestic league. Ahly lead the table with 49 points after playing 17 matches in the first round before the suspension of the league competition in March. Arab Contractors are a distant second with 33 points and a game extra.
The past week has also seen football teams submitting for tests for the coronavirus before training. Reports claim that a total of 24 samples have tested positive for the coronavirus, but the EFA’s statement confirms 11 cases reported so far. Teams have also resumed training.
Since the government had announced that sports competitions are to resume by the beginning of August, sports clubs have re-opened their doors to their members and sports teams as of 1 July for training.
Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi paid several visits to various Egyptian clubs to ensure that they are following health precautions.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 2 July, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly