TP Mazembe of the DR Congo requested that their opening African Champions League group-stage game against Ahly be moved outside Egypt, the club said on Saturday.
In a letter sent to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Mazembe said they want to switch the game to a neutral venue because of lingering security concerns in Egypt, where domestic football has been suspended since more than 70 fans died during a match in Egypt's Port Said stadium.
“The security situation in Egypt and the dissolution of the National Assembly [parliament] urges us to seek to move the game to a country other than Egypt,” Mazembe, Champions League winners in 2009 and 2010, said in the letter which they posted on their official website.
“The game is likely to attract lots of fans, and taking into account the current political environment, we trust that you will understand the reasons for our request.”
Egypt’s first president following the 2011 January uprising will be announced on Sunday, with ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi vying for the presidential hot seat.
However, the highly-controversial decree that limits the president powers, issued by Egypt’s ruling military just few days after the lower house of parliament was dissolved by a court ruling has prompted thousands of protesters to stage a sit-in in the iconic Tahrir Square.
The Egyptian interior ministry has refused to allow spectators to attend any football match since the Port Said tragedy, setting 10 safety requirements that should be met by Egyptian clubs first.
Cairo Ahly and Zamalek and the Egyptian national team had to play their home matches in African competitions behind closed doors.
Ahly, the record winners of the Champions League with six titles under their belt, open their Group B campaign against Mazembe on 6, 7 or 8 July while Zamalek face Ghana’s Chelsea away from home.
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