Egypt to hold local football matches behind closed doors amid coronavirus scare

Mahmoud Sheleib , Tuesday 10 Mar 2020

Football is the only sports activity that will continue in Egypt, but the games will be played in empty stadiums

File photo: A general view of Cairo International Stadium (Reuters)
File photo: A general view of Cairo International Stadium (Reuters)

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Tuesday that all football games will be held behind closed doors amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak.

"To preserve the fans' safety under the current conditions, which necessitate taking every precaution against the spread of the coronavirus that has stricken the whole world, the EFA has decided that all upcoming games will be played without fan attendance until further notice," read a statement on the EFA's official Facebook page.

Egypt is currently halfway into its local season as the Egyptian Premier League is in its 17th matchday from a total of 34 matchdays, and the teams are still competing in the round of 16 of the cup.

The decision comes following similar steps in several countries including Italy, which has decided to suspend the Serie A matches until 4 April, and Spain, which is holding the La Liga behind closed doors, as well as some of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League games.

Domestic football in Egypt has been held with limited audience attendance since the catastrophe of Port Said Stadium in 2012 that killed over 70 people during clashes between Ahly and Masry fans.

Egypt's Ministry of Youth and Sports announced earlier on Tuesday that all sports events will be suspended until further notice to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

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