Thursday,23 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1428, (31 January - 6 February 2019)
Thursday,23 May, 2019
Issue 1428, (31 January - 6 February 2019)

Ahram Weekly

Changing dates and seeking mercy

The kick-off date of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has changed. Meanwhile, Ismaili SC appealed against their disqualification from the Champions League, reports Inas Mazhar


African Union
African Union

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), to be held in Egypt during the summer, will start at a different time than was originally scheduled. The 31st edition of the one-month tournament is now to kick-off on 21 June and end 19 July, instead of the previously scheduled 15 June to 13 July.

The change was requested by Egypt and other participating North African countries because of scheduling clashes with the Holy fasting month of Ramadan and the subsequent Eid Al-Fitr holidays. This year, Ramadan starts around 5 May.

This is the second time Egyptian officials had approached the African Federation (CAF) to change the dates. Last week, the organisers asked CAF to bring the opening date one day forward, to 14 June instead of 15 June.

And just as the dates of the most prestigious sports event on the continent have been changing, the date for the draw for the 24 teams is still unconfirmed. It was initially slated for the first week of April. Then, it became more precise, 4 April. Recently, it was reported that 12 April would be the date and at the Pyramids and the Sphinx. However, the organisers have yet to come out with an officially fixed date.

One sure decision: the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced the appointment of former Egypt and Ahly player Mohamed Fadl as the tournament director. However, the organisational chart of the Local Organising Committee is yet unclear, as the heads of the various committees have yet to be selected.

In other African football news, Egyptian club Ismaili have appealed against CAF’s decision to oust the club from the Champions League following violence from the stands in its game against Tunisia’s Club African.

Almost a week after the game, Egypt’s Organising Committee for Interclubs Competitions and Club Licensing issued a statement announcing the disqualification of Ismaili after crowd related incidents ensured their Group C Day Two match against Club Africain ended abruptly.

A letter dated 23 January 2019 and signed by CAF Deputy General Secretary Anthony Baffoe said the match played on 18 January witnessed the throwing of stones and water bottles at the assistant referee and the visiting team (Club Africain) around the 86th minute mark, forcing officials to end the match after continuous failed attempts to restart play.

As stipulated in Chapter XII Article 3, Chapter XI Article 13 and Chapter XI Article 18 of the regulations of the competition, the Organising Committee officially announced the elimination of Ismaili SC from the Total CAF Champions League 2018/2019 and the overall results of the matches in which the team participated in are cancelled “without prejudice to other sanctions that may be imposed by the CAF Disciplinary Board”.

Following the decision, CS Constantinois leads Group C with six points after winning two matches, followed by Club Africain and TP Mazembe second and third with 0 points.

Ismaili seek to persuade CAF to reconsider the decision and soften the sanctions, including the deduction of points or fines instead of disqualification, considering that it was the first such incident by the club at its grounds.

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