Egyptian football sets new kick-off date

After the Port Said stadium disaster that left 74 dead, the top league of Egyptian football plans December re-start.

    Egyptian football sets new kick-off date
    Al Ahli soccer players flee as fans invade the Port Said stadium on February 1st 2012 [Reuters]

    Egypt will finally kick off their delayed football season on December 15, ending a 10-month hiatus of domestic action in Africa's most successful nation since the Port Said Stadium disaster earlier this year, the local football association said.

    A statement followed a Thursday meeting between the Egyptian FA and premier league clubs desperate to get their season underway after an abortive attempt in September.

    The decision was made without the involvement of the Egyptian government, who had senior ministers hold talks with the football association last week over security concerns.

    There has been no league football in Egypt since the start of February, when a riot at a match between Al Masry and visiting Al Ahli led to 74 deaths.

    Three days of national mourning were declared after the disaster and protesters in Cairo chanted slogans against the police and Egypt's military rulers. 

    The 2011-12 season was cancelled and an attempt to get a new campaign underway in September was aborted when protesting fans damaged the FA headquarters in Cairo.

    Fanatical supporters of Al Ahli, known as 'ultras', did not want matches resumed until those they felt were responsible for the Port Said deaths had been prosecuted.

    It is likely the new season will be sped up by dividing the teams into two groups to limit fixtures and then have a playoff competition in May to decide the title.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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