Egypt to allow more spectators at continental football games, promises sports minister

Ahram Online , Wednesday 5 Apr 2017

African championships' games should witness more fan attendance, with the spectator ban planned to be lifted next season, Egypt sports minister said

 Khaled Abdel-Aziz
Egypt's Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz (Photo: Al-Ahram )

Egyptian Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz has promised that more spectators will be allowed at the upcoming continental games for the four clubs competing in African tournaments; Ahly, Zamalek, Masry and Smouha.

Abdel-Aziz told reporters on Wednesday that the sports ministry is coordinating with the interior ministry to allow more fans into stadiums after fulfilling safety requirements.

Ahly and Zamalek are competing in the CAF Champions League, while Masry and Smouha are playing in the CAF Confederation Cup.

"If the teams qualify for the next stages, which start in May, more fans will be allowed to attend," he said.

A ban on stadium spectators was imposed by the Egyptian government following the Port Said Stadium massacre in February 2012, when 72 Ahly fans attending a domestic match against El-Masry were killed.

Under the ban, fans were prevented from attending all league matches for over three years.

In February 2015, the ban was partially lifted but was quickly re-imposed after 20 Zamalek fans died in a stampede at Cairo's Air Defence Stadium when police used teargas to disperse the crowd.

"We are seriously seeking full fan attendance next season," minister Abdel-Aziz said.

Minimum attendance has been allowed at continental games, with clubs calling for an end to the ban, though Egyptian authorities have been reluctant to lift it.

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