Egypt FA chairman: No decision yet on football suspension

Eslam Omar, Tuesday 13 Mar 2012

EFA's caretaker chairman says association has yet to make final decision on future of domestic football activity, despite teams' need to prepare for upcoming tournaments

Port Said violence
Ahly players flee violence in Port Said on 1 February after Masry league game(Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Chairman Anwar Saleh announced on Tuesday that the association's board had yet to make a final decision regarding the short-term future of football activity in Egypt, which was indefinitely suspended following last month's Port Said violence that left over 70 fans dead.

Saleh – who was appointed after the previous board led by Samir Zaher stepped down – also revealed that a planned friendly tournament, dubbed the "Martyrs' Championship" (scheduled to be held between 29 March and 18 May), needed more preparation.

"We had a meeting that included Premier League clubs with the EFA interim board, at which the clubs assured us that they could not resume league activities at this point. We also have a situation where the National and Olympic teams need to prepare before playing in upcoming competitions," Saleh said in an interview on the Confederation of African Football (CAF)'s official website.

The Pharaohs are currently preparing for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2014 World Cup, while Egypt's Under-23 team are training for the 2012 London Olympics.

"The proposed tournament will feature 18 teams from the Premier League, which will be divided into two equal groups. It will be played on a round-robin format, with teams only playing each other once. The top two teams from each group will go to the semi-finals,” he added.

Although they didn’t fully oppose the suspension of league activity, most Egyptian clubs have said that they haven't yet made final decisions regarding friendly tournaments.

"Rewards must be offered for such tournaments. Needless to say, this motivates the teams. The winner will take home around $750,000, with runners-up taking $420,000. All participating teams will get something as well, along with additional bonuses for playing in the competition," Saleh concluded.

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