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Thursday, 24 September 2020

Egypt's FA sets out plan to restart domestic league competition

Hatem Maher , Thursday 18 Jun 2020
EFA
The EFA headquarters in Cairo (Photo: the EFA's official website)
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The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has set out a detailed plan to restart the domestic league competition after a lengthy stoppage, outlining a series of preventative measures and proposing an end date for the first time.

Earlier this week, the EFA said it had been given the green light by the government to resume the Egyptian Premier League, which has been on hold since mid-March as part of the measures the country took to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Clubs are now allowed to begin training on Saturday, with the league set to restart on 25 July. The EFA proposed on Thursday 15 October as an end date, given that the season is still at the halfway stage.

EFA's interim board, which was appointed by world governing body FIFA last year, held a series of meeting with clubs in the Premier League and lower divisions over the past few days to discuss its plan to restart football competitions.

Although the majority of Premier League clubs said they vehemently oppose the league's resumption over safety concerns, the EFA said it's determined to save the season as life gradually returns to normal in Egypt.

Runaway leaders Ahly and several other clubs, including second-placed Arab Contractors, said they were in favour of completing the season.

"It was important to follow the example of many other countries in the world, especially that we do not know when this pandemic will be over," said Ahly's chairman Mahmoud El-Khatib, a club football icon.

Resuming the league could provide a much-needed financial boost to many of the competition's cash-strapped clubs, who lost key revenue from advertisement and sponsorship deals.

The EFA sought to allay the clubs' fears by outlining the precautionary measures it would take to make sure the competition would be trouble-free. According to a report by local football website FilGoal.com, players and technical staff members would have to undergo PCR tests before every game.

Anyone who tests positive would be isolated, while those who came in contact with him would be re-examined. The identity of those who test positive would not be revealed, according to a document obtained by FilGoal.com.

Clubs will bear the expenses of the preventative measures that will be put into effect before the league resumes, while the EFA will cover all costs once the competition restarts, the report added.

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