Egyptian league start postponed for third time

Hatem Maher, Sunday 16 Dec 2012

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) says the new league competition should start on 30 December

Egyptian league start postponed for third time
An Egyptian Premier League game between Ahly and ENPPI last season(Photo: Bassam EL-Zoghby)

The Egyptian Premier League start has been postponed for the third time due to the country's ongoing constitution referendum, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said on Sunday.

The premier domestic competition, which was cancelled last season in the wake of February's Port Said disaster, was due to kick-off on 18 December.

"The league will begin on 30 December because of the constitution referendum, which is held on two phases on 15 and 22 December," the EFA said in a statement on its official website.

"The first two rounds of the Premier League will be postponed; we will begin with the third round on 30 December. The matches will take place at military stadiums behind closed doors."

Despite the EFA's announcement, it remains to be seen whether it would get the approval of the interior ministry, which has been reluctant to assume responsibility for securing football games since Port Said's disaster left over 70 Ahly fans killed.

The EFA had already set three previous dates for possible league start but the interior ministry's constant refusal to give them the go-ahead proved a stumbling block.

Many clubs have complained about league delay, citing persistent financial problems which forced many of them to mull loaning out players or selling them to rich Arab Gulf clubs.

Zamalek winger Mahmoud Abdel-Razek 'Shikabala' is the most high-profile Egyptian player to join an Arab Gulf club, having moved to UAE side Al-Wasl last summer.

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