Al-Ahram Weekly Online   9 - 15 August 2012
Issue No. 1110
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

League to return

LESS than a week in office, Egypt's new Minister of Sports El-Amri Farouk has announced he had reached an agreement with the new minister of interior to resume the national football competition. Inas Mazhar reports. The league was cancelled mid-way through the season in the wake of 75 soccer deaths in a league game in February. The former interior minister said a new season could not be held for security reasons.

Farouk also dissolved the Egyptian Football Association's executive committee and appointed a new board to run the federation.

The two decisions are probably the most daring in Egyptian sports these days.

Farouk is a former board member at Ahli club who has earned a reputation for fighting corruption. He is the first sports minister ever in the history of Egypt.

Another decision was is to confirm the decision taken by the former head of the National Sports Council Emad El-Banani regarding the cancellation of the EFA elections which was scheduled to take place on 30 August. The reason was that the regulations of the elections and the EFA sent to FIFA contradicts with Egypt sports rules which allocates only nine seats for a board of any federation. The EFA's new regulation changed it into 11 seats.

The EFA executive committee now has a new board with former EFA president Essam Abdel-Moneim as chairman. Football dignitaries Tarek Ghoneim, Samer Abu El-Kheir, Mohamed Hossameddin, Fathi Nosseir, Khaled Bayoumi and Sayed Mostafa are on the board. The new board will take over for two months with an agenda to call for a general assembly meeting, and set a date for new elections.

The new president Abdel-Moneim received the news while he was out of town and is expected to hold the committee's first meeting Wednesday.

However, Abdel-Moneim followed in the footsteps of the minister and was as daring when he announced that the EFA will not execute the decision of the Court of Sports Arbitration regarding the return of Masri club to national competition. Masri was where the 75 fans died.

He told reporters that the EFA will hire an attorney to follow up on the case. Abdel-Monei added that though the new committee had only 60 days "they will work on fighting corruption at the federation and will make sure the national competition is resumed as soon as possible" and that they are arranging for a meeting that will witness the prime minister and both ministers of interior and sports to set a date for the resumption of the national competitions.

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