Ismaily to face Morocco's Raja in Arab Cup behind closed doors over coronavirus fears

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Mar 2020

photo courtesy of Ismaily SC

Ismaily's clash against Morocco's Raja in the Arab Cup semis will be held behind closed doors due to Coronavirus fears in Morocco, the Arab Football Federation announced on Sunday.

Egyptian side Ismaily, who won the first leg 1-0 in Ismailia last month, will face Raja in Casablanca on 15 March.

"In reference to news of the spread of Coronavirus and according to the precautionary measures taken by countries all over the world to deal with this virus and out of concern for the safety of the players, we decided to hold the semi-final behind closed doors," read a statement issued by the Arab Federation on Sunday.

So far, 57 people tested positive for the coronavirus in Morocco.

The country banned fans from all football matches and canceled many economic, sports and cultural events involving foreign travelers as authorities continue to implement precautionary measures at entry points and hospitals to prevent the spread of the virus.

It remains to be seen whether the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will follow suit before the African Champions League semi-final games take place in May.

Egyptian sides Ahly and Zamalek will face Moroccan clubs Wydad de Casablanca and Raja respectively in the last four. CAF said it's closely monitoring the situation.

The first legs will be held on 1-2 May, with the second legs taking place in Egypt one week later.

In Egypt, 49 coronavirus cases have been detected so far.

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