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Egyptian FA resumes league without changes to relegation rules

The Egyptian Football Association: lower divisions will resume matches next month and will enforce the three-team relegation rule at the end of the season

Karim Farouk, Friday 8 Apr 2011
League
Ittihad of Alexandria and Smouha are in the danger zone
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After a meeting with the president of the National Sport Council, Hassan Sakr, and the ruling military council, the Egyptian FA issued a statement announcing that the league will resume as scheduled without any changes to the rules.

“Upon recommendations of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the first division will resume on 13 April, while the second, third and fourth divisions will continue starting from 1 May.”

“The competitions will be played according to the regulations adopted at the beginning of the season, including relegation and promotion rules,” the statement read.

This decision to resume the Egyptian Premier League and not change any of the rules follows a stop in league matches due to the revolution in Egypt. Once league began, the world witnessed as last Egyptian fans overwhelmed stadium security and violently invaded the pitch in a Zamalek-Africain game, which forced the cancellation of a CAF Champions League game.

The EFA then threatened to impose strict sanctions against any sort of violence or disturbance, implying “games behind closed doors, matches moved away from home ground and even point deductions.”

The decision has been at the centre of controversy, especially that the bottom-table clubs like Gouna, Smouha and the Alexandrian giants Ittihad wanted to cancel relegation this season claiming that they have been heavily affected by the three-month forced break.

President of the EFA, Samir Zaher, said he might consider the option given that the lower divisions will not resume matches, like the premier league.

However, after deciding to resume full activities their relegation has been maintained.

“If any club refuses to participate in the competition according to the current regulation it shall be relegated to the lower division,” the statement added.

As a precautionary measure the EFA imposed on Ittihad of Alexandria is to play their home matches in Borg El-Arab or El-Max stadiums – two grounds belonging to the military forces – to avoid any disturbances from their large fan base.

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