Egyptian football league to resume

Egyptian domestic football league will begin on 13 April despite Saturday's riots at Cairo stadium.

    Fans invaded the pitch at Cairo Stadium on Saturday during an African Champions League clash [AFP]

    The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) have announced the resumption of the domestic football league next week as planned, despite a pitch invasion at an African Champions League clash in Cairo on Saturday.

    The league has been disrupted since the popular uprising in January which led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak and was originally put on hold during the country's political revolution.

    Following a meeting on Tuesday which involved new Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, the EFA said the domestic league would return on April 13, despite earlier reports the league would be delayed or played behind closed doors.

    Violence

    Saturday's violence by fans of Cairo club Zamalek, who invaded the pitch to attack the referee and opposition players from Tunisia's Club Africain, had initially led the EFA to postpone the planned resumption at an emergency meeting on Sunday.

    But the games will go ahead next week, the EFA said on Wednesday, and fans will be allowed in.

    Egyptian authorities had also said they were considering playing league matches behind closed doors, and possibly at military facilities, following Saturday's problems at the 75,000-capacity Cairo Stadium.

    The EFA said Sharaf and EFA President Samir Zaher "decided to resume the league matches in all grades and in the presence of the fans on April 13.''

    The African Football Confederation says its disciplinary body will meet in Johannesburg this month to consider reports from match officials at the Zamalek-Club Africain last-32 Champions League tie.

    Zamalek are almost certain to face sanctions, and future games in Cairo could also be affected.

    The Prime Minister had apologised to Tunisian fans after Saturday's riot.

    "Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has apologised to the government and people of Tunisia, to the players of Tunisia's Africain and to the Algerian referee for what happened in Cairo Stadium," the state-owned daily Al-Ahram reported.

    Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, who was reporting from Cairo, said that the stadium was not heavily guarded.

    "There was a lack of police personnel," said Khodr.

    "Local and international matches have been suspended over the past weeks as a result of the uprising. They only resumed recently."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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