Fans to return to Egyptian Premier League games in new season, says EFA boss

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 1 Sep 2019

 Cairo International Stadium
File Photo: Cairo International Stadium (Photo: Reuters)

The head of the managing committee at the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Amr El-Ganainy has announced that the Egyptian Premier League's new season, which will start in mid September, will see fans attendance, stressing that fans play an important role in games.

"The League will start this month with fan attendance starting from the first match day, since football has no taste without fan attendance," El-Ganainy told a television programme on MBC Misr late on Saturday.

"The number of fans allowed to attend the games is expected to be 5,000 initially, but this number will be raised gradually," he added.

Egypt successfully hosted the Africa Cup of Nations from 21 June to 19 July at six major stadiums in various locations across the country, with the EFA opening the door for fans who pre-registered online through Tazkarti system to attend the games at the stadiums.

"The system of [the online ticket purchasing site] Tazkarti that was used in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was brilliant, and the same system will be in place for the League," he added.

"All the games will be attended by spectators, including the Cairo derby between Ahly and Zamalek."

Football fans have been banned from domestic league games in Egypt since February 2012, when 72 Ahly supporters were killed at Port Said stadium following a regular season league game.

The crowd ban in Egypt was briefly lifted in January 2015 but immediately reimposed after 20 Zamalek fans died in a stampede.

In the past five years, authorities have permitted a certain minimum number of fans to attend African championship games and national team matches, per FIFA rules.

In week one, last year's league champions Ahly will kick off their title-defending bid in the new season against Ismaily, while Zamalek will face Petrojet.

However, the EFA has not yet set the starting date for the league championship or the time-schedule of games.

The two Cairo arch-rivals Ahly and Zamalek are due to face off at the end of the first and second rounds.

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