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Official: Masry won't play in Egypt league's new season

Masry declines to participate in Egyptian Premier League's new season; Tournament to kick off on 17 September, sports minister confirms

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Monday 3 Sep 2012
Many Masry fans are accused of murdering dozens of Ahly's supporters in Port Said (Photo: Reuters)
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Port Said-based club Masry will not play in the Egyptian Premier League's new season, scheduled to kick off on 17 September, Egyptian Sports Minister El-Amry Farouk confirmed Monday.

"Masry will not compete in the Egyptian league next season. They have officially declined to participate and their decision is final," Farouk told the Modern Kora television channel.

The team were banned from playing by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) for two seasons and demoted to the country's second division after Masry fans invaded the pitch to confront Ahly supporters following a home league game in February.

More than 70 fans were killed and hundreds injured in the ensuing violence.

The club appealed the ban at Egypt's Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and the sanctions were eventually lifted in August.

The under-fire club initially said they would skip the league "out of respect for the martyrs’ families," but returned to stir controversy later in August after saying that they planned to participate after all.

The announcement threw the entire competition in doubt, but these concerns have since been eased by the team's latest decision not to take part.

"The tournament will begin on schedule; participating clubs will be informed of the date of the tournament draw," the sports minister announced.

All Egyptian football activities have been suspended since the Port Said stadium disaster, while a number of Masry fans and security officials currently face charges of premeditated murder and negligence, respectively.

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