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Sunday, 05 April 2020

Egypt's sports ministry backs EFA after Ahly-Zamalek derby called off

The Egyptian Premier League derby between champions Ahly and arch rivals Zamalek was called off after the Whites didn't show up at Cairo International Stadium

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 25 Feb 2020
Egytpt
Egytpt's Sports minister Ashraf Sobhy (Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's sports ministry announced on Tuesday its full support for the country's football association in its expected decision regarding calling off Monday's domestic league derby.

The Egyptian Premier League clash between champions Ahly and their arch rivals Zamalek was called off after the Whites did not show up at the Cairo International Stadium.

"The ministry has been monitoring the recent incidents carefully, as the country's main target is to offer full support for all organisations to take the best decisions to ensure the finest football atmosphere in accordance with regulations," the ministry's spokesman said in an official statement via Facebook.

"The football association's normalisation committee will have the final say on this issue. The ministry is waiting for the decision, which will be fully backed amid the country's plan to improve different sports fields, including football, ahead of appearing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," the statement concluded.

Monday's game was scheduled to start at 19:30 Cairo local time but was postponed for an hour as the Whites were reportedly stuck in traffic due to heavy rains in the Egyptian capital.

The referee whistled the start of the game at 20:30 in the presence of Ahly, who were on the field on time, and waited for 20 minutes, in accordance with game regulations, before the match was called off.

On Sunday, the Zamalek board decided to forfeit the league games in protest against the Egyptian Football Association’s (EFA) sanctions imposed following the Super Cup brawl last Thursday.

Zamalek's president Mortada Mansour said the club will no longer compete in the domestic league under the supervision of this interim board.

Several Ahly and Zamalek players and officials were hit with heavy sanctions following a bust-up between the two teams at the end of the game that saw Zamalek claim their fourth Super Cup title following a penalty shootout victory.

Zamalek’s president backtracked on his decision and a youthful Zamalek side were reportedly on their way to Cairo stadium for the derby but were stuck in traffic.

"We are sorry for this scene and we will apply the regulations. After coordinating with the security forces, we were informed that there were no obstacles preventing both teams' buses from arriving at the stadium," the EFA said following the game.

According to the EFA regulations, Ahly will be announced the winners of the game and six points will be deducted from Zamalek at the end of the season.

Back in August, FIFA announced appointing a normalisation committee for the EFA headed by Zamalek's former board member Amr El-Ganainy until the upcoming elections.

The decision of the world football governing body followed the resignation of the EFA president Hany Abo Rida and all board members after the national team's unceremonious exit from the African Cup of Nations in the round of 16 at home last July.

FIFA said at the time that 31 July 2020 is the deadline of the work of the committee, which can also finish the mission earlier if it fulfils all its tasks.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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