No guarantee Egyptian League will resume after two weeks, sports minister says

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 15 Mar 2020

Ashraf Sobhy
File Photo: Egypt Youth and Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhy (Photo: Al-Ahram).

Egyptian Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi announced on Sunday that the two-week suspension of football matches in all divisions in an effort to contain the coronavirus does not mean that all tournaments will be cancelled.

Sobhi also revealed via a radio sports programme that there is no guarantee that the Egyptian Premier League would resume after two weeks.

"We have decided to suspend football activities since we do not wait until the crisis happens to react," the sports minister said.

"We are not promising that activities will resume after two weeks, as we have to evaluate the situation first according to the medical advice," Sobhi added.

The minister said that the confirmed coronavirus cases in Egypt are currently lower than other countries in the world, "but we have moved quickly to contain the outbreak."

Football matches have been suspended in all divisions for two weeks as Egypt tries to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said on Saturday.

Countries with major football leagues, including Britain, Italy and Spain, have also suspended football matches until early April.

"There are countries that have suspended activities indefinitely, but the suspension of activity for Egypt does not mean cancelation," the sports minister said.

"More than anything else, our priority is the good health of the Egyptian people," Sobhi said.

Since its outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected nearly 170,000 people globally and killed more than 5,900.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Egypt has reached 110.

The Egyptian government has been taking a number of preventive measures in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, deciding on Saturday to close schools and universities for two weeks, starting Sunday 15 March.

Egypt has raised the alert level in hospitals, airports, and land ports, and has suspended flights to many countries that have reported major outbreaks.

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

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