The Egyptian Premier League is unlikely to resume following the interior ministry’s decision to call off three friendly games for the national team, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) chairman said on Sunday.
“The EFA was seriously considering resuming the league on 15 March behind closed doors upon the request of the clubs, after the end of the mourning period for the victims of the Port Said disaster,” Anwar Saleh told Ahram Sport.
“But the interior ministry’s letter, which demanded that Egypt’s friendly games be cancelled, came as a killer punch to our plans to resume the competition.”
The Pharaohs were supposed to meet Uganda, Guinea and Niger later this month as part of a training camp but the matches were cancelled for security reasons.
They were also scheduled to open their African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Central Africa on 29 February but the Confederation of African Football (CAF) agreed to postpone the game to 30 June.
Domestic football activities have been suspended since the infamous Port Said disaster, which left 74 fans killed and scores injured early this month when thousands of Masry supporters invaded the pitch to confront the visiting Ahly fans following the end of a league game.
Cairo side Zamalek were the first Egyptian team to play a football game following the tragedy, salvaging a 1-1 draw at Tanzania’s Young Africans in the first leg of the African Champions League preliminary round on Saturday.
Many pundits called on the EFA to call off the league this season, given the political turmoil and security problems Egypt is enduring.
“We have no option but to follow the instructions of the authorities. We will wait to see whether security will improve,” added Saleh, who was appointed as the EFA caretaker chairman following the resignation of Samir Zaher.
“I hope the authorities will reverse that decision soon, because cancelling the league will have dire consequences on Egyptian football on all fronts.”
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