Football league to resume play, but might not have audience

Football league to resume play, but might not have audience

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Mon, 21/01/2013 - 18:08

Stadiums might be empty when premier league football matches resume on 2 February, as the league awaits the issuing of a new draft law on hooliganism, said Egyptian Football Association head Gamal Allam.

“The law on hooliganism will only see the light after all the fan clubs have expressed their opinion,” Allam told the Shura Council’s Youth and Sports Committee on Monday, reported state-run news agency MENA.

"We cannot raise the level of football and sports in Egypt without changing the system in which we operate,” he continued.

Association member Mohamed Hafez said that Egypt is significantly behind FIFA when it comes to regulations.

It’s key to change the system governing sports in the country and give more attention to building sports infrastructure in underserved governorates, he added.

The Ultras Ahlawy refused to attend the Shura Council meeting to give their opinion on the hooliganism bill, while the Ultras groups supporting Zamalek, Ismailia and other teams rejected the draft law submitted by the government. They claimed it was incompatible with the rights and freedoms of soccer fans.

The Premier League was suspended in February after 72 Ahly fans were killed following a match between Ahly and the Port Said-based team Masry.

The league’s activities have been halted more than once due to Ultras Ahlawy protests against resuming play before anyone has been brought to justice for the Port Said killings.

The court is scheduled to issue a verdict in the case on Saturday 26 January. Over 70 defendants, including nine police officers, face charges of killing and inciting the killing of Ahly fans.

Edited translation from MENA