Updated: Military stadium to host Zamalek-Chelsea clash after PM intervention

Eslam Omar, Wednesday 29 Aug 2012

The Military Academy Stadium backtracks on refusal to host Saturday's African Champions League game between Zamalek and Berekum Chelsea

Zamalek team
An Egyptian army guard looks on as fans of Egypt's Zamalek team cheer before their soccer match against Kenya's Ulinzi Stars at the African Champions League (CAF) soccer match at the Military stadium in Cairo February 27, 2011. (Photo:Reuters)

The Military Academy Stadium has reversed its decision not to host Saturday's African Champions League match between Zamalek and Ghana's Berekum Chelsea following the intervention of Egyptian prime minister Hisham Qandil, Ahram's sports website reported.

Qandil ordered defence minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to resolve the dispute that erupted when the stadium's officials said it would not be able to host the match because it was undergoing renovations.

According to CAF regulations, it would not have been possible for Zamalek to change the venue only three days before the match.

“Zamalek was very shocked to receive the stadium's apology for refusing to host the Chelsea match,” stated the Cairo-based club's official website earlier on Wednesday.

Early this week, the club announced they had received official permission from the interior ministry to hold the Chelsea game at the Military Academy Stadium on 1 September in the presence of three thousand supporters.

Spectators have been banned from Egyptian football matches since the 1 February Port Said disaster, when a league match between Masry and Ahly ended with deadly clashes leaving more than 70 dead and hundreds injured.

The five-time African champions have this year registered their worst ever performance in the African Champions League after four straight defeats. They are bottom of Group B behind leaders Ahly (10 points), TP Mazembe (7 points) and Berekum Chelsea (5 points).

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