Sunday,24 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1402, (19 - 25 July 2018)
Sunday,24 February, 2019
Issue 1402, (19 - 25 July 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt wants World Cup, Olympic Games

In his first press conference, the newly appointed minister of youth and sports set out highly ambitious goals. Abeer Anwar was in attendance

Egypt’s new Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi has said that Egypt was well-prepared to try to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup and the 2032 Olympic Games as part of the ministry’s strategy to advance the standard of Egyptian sports.

At a press conference that covered an optimistic long-term plan running from 2018 to 2030, Sobhi said Egypt has the “financial and tangible” abilities to hold major sporting events. “With some more management and a clear target we will be able to host big events as Egypt has many more facilities than what is used at present.”

Egypt’s previous attempt to host the World Cup resulted in “the zero scandal” when the country failed to garner a single vote to host the 2010 edition which went to South Africa.

The last major tournament hosted by Egypt was the 2017 FIBA Basketball U-17 World Cup in Cairo.

Concerning fans being allowed back into stadiums following an almost total ban after the 2012 soccer riot which killed 72 people, Sobhi said he was working hard with Cairo Stadium officials to start learning from the Russia World Cup and start allowing in soccer fans with electronic identity cards that will carry individual personal data so that unruly spectators in matches can easily be traced. “It is the right time to allow fans back to the stadiums but we have to be prepared for this and that is why we are helping the clubs and stadiums to find the best way to allow the fans back.”

As an academic professor, Sobhi said he wanted to link science, studies and sports on field.

He said President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi was giving athletes and sports talents “great care” as it is one of his priorities. He said Al-Sisi stressed that Egyptian youth “are the focal point of the country’s development and economic security” and addressed the importance and influence of the role played by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in several sectors in the country.

Sobhi has appointed five professors as aides, outlining the mechanisms to refining sporting talent as well as opening sports outlets throughout the governorates.

He said the general health of Egyptians will improve by playing sports and that even social problems facing families can be solved through sports, including drug addiction. He said international political relations with other countries are affected by sports.

Sobhi also announced that a sports fund has been established to help host major events and sponsor Olympic athletes. He added that the private sector plays a big role in sponsoring sports events and athletes. “Without the help of sponsors, the government won’t be able to host big events. We have to move hand in hand and work together and this is the situation in almost all the world.”

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