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Fans allowed to attend Egypt's World Cup qualifier at home to Chad

25,000 fans will officially back Egypt in the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Chad on 17 November

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 4 Nov 2015
Fans
An Egyptian fan rallies fans for his national team before the their African Cup of Nations group G qualifying soccer match against Senegal at Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, November 2014 (Photo: AP)
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The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has been given the green light by authorities on Wednesday to allow fans to attend Egypt's match at home Chad in their opening qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Pharaohs open their qualifying campaign when they play Chad on 14 November away, three days before hosting them at Alexandria's Borg El Arab Stadium in the return match.

"The Interior ministry agreed to allow 25,000 supporters to attend Egypt's against Chad from the stands," the EFA announced in a statement on its official website.

"There will be a meeting with the ministry officials next week to discuss the mechanism of the fans' entrance to the stadium," the statement added.

Football fans have been mainly banned in Egypt since February 2012 when 72 Ahly fans died in the Port Said Stadium disaster. The national team and Cairo duo Ahly and Zamalek were occasionally allowed  to play before fans in international and continental games though.

In February this year the ban was partially lifted but immediately re-imposed after 20 Zamalek fans died in a stampede at Cairo's Air Defence Stadium.

Cairo giants Zamalek, the league and cup champions, and archrivals Ahly have repeatedly asked Egyptian authorities in recent months to allow fans to return. Their requests have been rejected amid fears of fresh fatal incidents.

Earlier in September, Egyptian Minister of Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz said the country would allow fans to attend any home match involving the national team in the qualifying campaigns for the 2017 African Cup of Nations and 2018 World Cup.

The seven-time African champions, Egypt, are  also contesting the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers and are currently top of Group G with six points after beating Tanzania 3-1 in June and Chad 5-1 in September.

Egypt will face Nigeria on 23 March 2016 in their next group game of the Nations Cup qualifiers.

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