Egyptian new Premier League season to start behind closed doors: Sports minister

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Aug 2016

Football fans
File Photo: Football fans before entering stadiums: Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt Sports minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz announced that the new Egyptian Premier League season 2016/2017 would start in September without fans attendance for the fourth straight year.

"The new Egyptian Premier League season to start without fans attendance," Abdel-Aziz told a television programme late on Sunday.

The draw for the schedule of the new season would be held on Monday at the Egyptian Football Association headquarter.

"We are in talks with the Interior minister to allow games to be played at Cairo Stadium," the sports minister added.

Cairo stadium, the one of country's oldest football venue, has declined to host games in the past four years for security reasons.

"We are thinking of playing the new season games on Cairo and El-Salam stadiums," Abdel-Aziz said.

Egypt banned crowds from football matches after the Port Said stadium deadly disaster in February 2012, when over 70 Ahly fans were killed in post-match violence.

In February 2015, the ban was partially lifted but was then immediately re-imposed after another deadly incident when 19 Zamalek fans died in a stampede at Cairo's Air Defence stadium.

Minimal number of fans was recently allowed to appear in the stands during teams games in the CAF Champions League games as well as Egypt national team games for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

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