Cancelling the league is not our decision: EFA chairman

Mahmoud Sheleib , Monday 4 May 2020

Amr El-Gnainy
Head of the Egyptian Football Association Amr El Gnainy (Al-Ahram)

Egyptian Football Association (EFA) president Amr El-Ganainy has revealed that the association has put in place several scenarios for the continuation of the premier league competition, stressing that cancelling the tournament is not the EFA’s decision.

“It’s the Egyptian government’s decision only, not the EFA’s. We provided the sports minister with all the solutions we’ve reached to resume the competition,” El-Ganainy told MBC Masr TV Channel late Sunday.

When asked about ending the season and considering the league leaders Ahly as champions, he replied, “We started the competition with certain conditions and we want to complete it.”

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi said on 14 April to local media that cancelling the league is not his decision, it is the EFA’s decision, and the ministry’s opinion is just consultative to provide solutions and suggestions.

Football in Egypt has been suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and could be resumed by mid-July, according to Gamal Mohamed Ali, EFA vice president.

Egypt has recently eased coronavirus restrictions, but football officials were not given a timeframe on when they can restart the domestic league.

The Confederation of African Football requested on 26 April that the continent’s national football associations inform it of their plans on whether to resume or postpone their local league seasons, in order to allow it to decide whether or not to reschedule the 2019-2020 continental season.

“I don’t know at this time what to tell CAF in response to their question. We have to send our decisions by 15 May, I guess the final decision will be made by that time,” the EFA president added.

El-Ganainy revealed that one of the EFA’s strategies for resuming the Egyptian Premier League is to play the remaining matches with the same system of the Africa Cup of Nations, with matches played at certain stadiums.

“In this case, the stadiums have to include some important things such as training pitches and suitable hotels, and also we would need to isolate all the teams during that period, with no one entering or leaving,” El-Ganainy explained.

Egyptian football clubs have halted training amid the coronavirus scare, asking players to stay fit at home until further notice.

Defending champions Ahly are the overwhelming favourites to win a fifth straight title as they top the table with 49 points, 16 ahead of the nearest challengers Arab Contractors, who have played one game more than Ahly.

According to the latest health ministry statement issued on Sunday, Egypt registered 272 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 6,465 cases, with a death toll of 429 nationwide.

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