The Egyptian Football Association (EFA), under acting chairman Anwar Saleh, have called on President Mohamed Morsi to resume Egyptian football activity, suspended since February’s Port Said stadium disaster.
“We cannot forget as Egyptians, starting with the president, that the key to African cooperation is football, which is a vital element in economic development,” Saleh said in a statement published on the EFA’s official website. “It’s a big business that employs more than 4 million people.”
Morsi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president, returned from the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday afternoon. At the summit, Morsi stressed the importance of cooperation between Egypt and its African neighbours.
Quoting Morsi’s speech before African Union representatives, the EFA called on Egypt’s new president to end to the seven-months-long suspension of Egyptian football activity.
“We promise to work together with the security authorities to keep our football stadiums safe,” continued the statement.
The EFA turned to the presidency after Egypt’s interior ministry on Sunday announced its refusal to provide security in and around the country’s football stadiums.
Egypt’s most popular sport was frozen after the 1 February Port Said stadium disaster, which left scores dead and hundreds injured in clashes between fans of rival teams Ahly and Masry.
The association assured that they would coordinate with Egypt’s security agencies, the National Sports Council, football clubs and their respective fan groups, and private security companies with a view to resuming football competitions.
“We can also provide profit shares to the families of those killed and injured in the Port Said disaster and fan groups if they help to secure matches,” the EFA promised.
“We’re the ones who are suffering the consequences of the football stoppage, and we’re ready to take full responsibility for the sport that entertains tens of millions of fans and allows more than four million families to earn livings, families who have suffered greatly during the previous period.”
“Football isn’t just a sport,” the EFA concluded. “Football is intimately related to politics, tourism, economy and industry.”
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