Zamalek president Mortada Mansour says he does not mind ceding the Egyptian Premier League title this season to league leaders and arch rivals Ahly if it means ending the competition prematurely to ensure the safety of all players amid the coronavirus crisis.
On Monday, the Egyptian government granted clubs the green light to resume training starting 20 June, paving the way for the league to resume on 25 July after a four-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After Monday’s announcement, Egyptian football clubs were divided over whether the country should resume the Premier League competition, with some supporting the planned resumption of the season while others opposed it.
“Is it possible to resume the league competition with the approval of only five out of 18 clubs?” Mansour told Zamalek’s TV channel early on Wednesday.
“We don’t mind declaring Ahly the league champions for the sake of everyone. If a player from Ahly picked up coronavirus, I won’t let it pass easily. Sure we support the country’s decision regarding football activity, but we are talking about a new season, not completing this one,” he added.
Champions Ahly, on the other hand, revealed that they welcome the league’s resumption and that the team will follow all the precautionary measures announced by the government on Monday to ensure everyone's safety.
The Arab Contractors also welcomed the Ministry of Sports and Youth’s decision, the club’s president said shortly after the minister announced the decision in a press conference.
The Contractors are now in second place with 33 points after 18 games, behind leaders Ahly, who collected 49 points after playing 17 matches.
Pyramids FC announced on their official Twitter account early on Tuesday that they will resume their training on 20 June.
Meanwhile, Cairo giants Zamalek refused to participate in the current season.
Other teams including Aswan SC and Wadi Degla have also refused to participate in the resumed Premier League.
“Zamalek assistant coach Samy El-Shesheny resigned from his post after informing us that he does not want to risk his life, and we can’t blame him. There are other coaches who will follow suit. If a player refuses to play, what can we do?” the Zamalek president explained.
“There are continental commitments for Ahly and Zamalek in September, and so the league will stop again. The league will end in November as there are 17 remaining rounds in this season, aside from the national team commitments. Shall we start the new season in December? And what about registration of new players?
“What is the problem if the football association declares Ahly the league champions, as they are already the holders, besides cancelling relegation in all divisions? Training should start on 25 July and then the new season on 25 August,” he concluded.
On Wednesday, Director of the CAF Competitions Committee Samson Adamo said that the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup will resume in September.
Before the current suspension of football activities due to the coronavirus, Ahly and Zamalek had been set to play the Champions League semi-finals against Moroccan sides Wydad de Casablanca and Raja de Casablanca respectively.
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