The EFA announced on Tuesday that next season’s Egyptian Premier League would feature 20 teams instead of 16 after relegation was cancelled.
Ittihad, Arab Contractors and Smouha - who were all relegated to the second division last season - will now remain in the top flight.
Supporters of Alexandria’s most popular club Ittihad protested in front of the EFA headquarters after their club finished second from bottom in the 16-team table, arguing that they were dearly affected by January’s popular uprising which toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak and forced a lengthy league break.
“The EFA has made a number of decisions regarding the format of next season's league competition following a board meeting on Tuesday,” the association said on its official website on the second day of Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan.
“First, the first division will be expanded to 20 teams in the 2011-12 season. Second, all the teams who featured in the first division last season would remain in the top flight.
“Three second-division teams will be promoted to the first division. The fourth team will be decided via a mini three-team league featuring the teams who finished runners up in the three groups of the second division. The mini league will take place in Cairo.”
Police-owned club Dakhlia, Bany Swaif Telephones and Ghazl Mahalla have already won promotion to the Premier League. Tersana, Mansoura and Aswan will vie for the remaining place in the top flight.
The EFA also said five teams will be relegated next season instead of the regular three as the 2012-13 season would include 18 clubs.
Many pundits questioned the decision of the EFA, who followed in the footsteps of their Tunisian counterparts, to cancel relegation, saying that all teams naturally suffered the consequences of the league’s stoppage.
Zamalek, who finished runners up to league winners Ahly, said earlier this month they demanded their arch rivals be stripped of their title on the grounds that they were affected by the revolution like Ittihad. They backtracked on their stance few days later.
The White Knights were six points ahead of Ahly at the halfway stage of the season but surrendered their advantage after the league resumed in April.