Conflicting statements by EFA officials leave the future of Egyptian football hazy

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 9 Mar 2013

As fans react heatedly to the trial of the country's worst-ever football disaster, Egyptian Football Association officials reveal the board will meet, but leave the future of the premier league hazy

Smoke and fire rises from the Egyptian Football Association (Photo: Karim Hafez)

Confusion abounds over the continuity of Egyptian football activities after the angry reaction of Ahly hardcore fans Ultras Ahlawy following Saturday's verdict on deadly Port Said football match.

Egyptian football officials made conflicting statements that put the future of domestic activities in doubt.

Egyptian Football Association (EFA) spokesman Azmy Megahed told Ahram Sports the football activities could be halted indefinitely, but vice president Hassan Farid appeared later to deny that to other media sources, insisting that stopping football will not be discussed at all.

Egypt’s court confirmed the death sentences of 21 defendants that were first announced on 26 January for the killing of 72 Ahly fans during the Masry v Ahly match in the Port Said stadium on 1 February 2012.

The court also sentenced two senior police officers to jail for 15 years, five more people to life in jail and acquitted 28. The remainder of the 73 defendants received shorter jail sentences for their role in the riot.

The Police Club building in Gezira, close to the Ahly Club, as well as the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) building, are currently on fire after being ransacked by hundreds of Ultras Ahlawy.

The Ultras are angry that only two of the police officers were convicted, while seven were acquitted in the case.

"EFA board members will hold a meeting later today to discuss the attack on the association building and the future of Egyptian football," EFA media director and spokesman Azmi Megahed tells Ahram Sport.

"We will discuss some proposals that call for halting all football activities to avoid a repeat of the Port Said disaster," Megahed adds.

Conversely, vice president Hassan Farid told Al-Ahram Arabic news site that "Stopping Egyptian football will not be discussed at all during the meeting."

All football activities in Egypt were suspended for roughly a year since February's Port Said stadium disaster.

The EFA decided to resume Egyptian Premier League earlier in February 2013, providing that matches will be played behind closed doors in the first half of the season.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO Sportsand on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)

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