Update: Egyptian Football Association postpones season

The Egyptian Football Association on Monday announced the postponement of the Premier League football season, which was to start Wednesday, for an indefinite period.

In a statement on its official website, the association said it had requested the Interior Ministry's approval to resume matches, but did not receive it.

Observers had warned against resuming football competitions, as six clubs remain undecided, and the Egyptian Football Association has not named the panel and referees who will supervise the season.

News reports quoted association official Mahmoud al-Shamy early Sunday as saying that the new season might be postponed to 31 October, which he later denied the same day.

The local football league had been halted since 2 February, when 74 football fans were killed in violence that erupted after a Premier League match between Ahly and Masry teams at Port Said Stadium.

Ahly fans have protested and stormed the club several times to object to the resumption of the league before prosecuting suspects involved in the massacre.

Sports Minister Al-Emary Farouq said earlier Monday that he had received a phone call from Prime Minister Hesham Qandil in which he stressed the Cabinet’s and presidency’s approval of starting the new football season as scheduled.

The minister said Qandil had coordinated with Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin before stressing the pre-scheduled date.

Farouq said several competing clubs had contacted him about resuming the competitions as planned to offset losses resulting from the halt. He also said ministry departments nationwide voiced the same demand following threats by respective clubs to protest in case the season is delayed further.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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