Monday,16 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1154, (27 June - 3 July 2013)
Monday,16 July, 2018
Issue 1154, (27 June - 3 July 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Put on hold

The league’s conclusion is delayed, reports Inas Mazhar

Al-Ahram Weekly

The national football league was supposed to come to an end on Saturday but that has been put forward to after 30 June at least. The decision to cancel the remaining matches this week was taken by the Interior Ministry for fear of games being played during the first anniversary of Mohamed Morsi’s presidency in which there is a strong possibility of violence between supporters and opponents of the president.  
Local league matches had resumed after a brief hiatus in which Egypt was playing in two African World Cup qualifiers.
Though the league matches should have continued to be held behind closed doors for security reasons, as has been the case from the start of the season, Ahli fans insisted on attending their club’s match against Al-Gouna on Sunday, staging a pitch invasion of the National Defence Stadium. The competitions committee of the Egyptian Football Association had stated that fans are not allowed in stadiums and according to Mazen Marzouk, head of competitions at the EFA, any team whose fans enter a stadium would be declared the loser of the match 2-0 regardless of what the final score was.
On Monday the committee gave a win and three full points to Ahli and a tie and one point to Zamalek even though their respective fans invaded the pitch in separate matches. Despite the violation of the rules, results of both Ahli and Zamalek matches stood: Ahli was confirmed 4-1 winner over Al-Gouna while Zamalek tied 2-2 against the Arab Contractors.
However, the EFA did fine Ahli and Zamalek LE100,000 each for their fans on-field invasion.
Despite the EFA warning on pitch invasions, Ahli Ultras announced a day before their team’s match against Al-Gouna that they planned to attend the game. And they did. The fans were allowed to enter the National Defence Stadium by military officials in order to avoid any clashes. When the match coordinator decided to cancel the match, the military representative in the stadium gave instructions to start the game in the presence of the spectators.
As if that confusion was not enough, sometime later, Ahli Ultras, known for at times their rowdiness, quietly started leaving the stadium.
The decision to ban fans from attending league matches came following last year’s football riot in which 72 fans were killed in a league game in Port Said. Most of those killed were Ahli supporters.
But there are discussions currently under way to allow fans to attend the semi-finals and finals, according to an earlier statement by Minister of Sport Al-Amri Farouk. However, this was before the pitch invasions.
With the results, Ahli has 39 points from 15 matches in Group A while Al-Gouna remains with 14 points and in sixth place in the same group. Ahli had already clinched a spot in the semi-finals.
In other matches, Zamalek beat Ismaili 2-1 in their group B match. Ismaili’s Ahmed Khairi opened the scoring in the 27th minute before Mohamed Ibrahim levelled the score five minutes later. Ahmed Hassan netted the winner in the 60th minute. Zamalek continues to head the standings of Group B with 39 points while Ismaili remains in second place with 30 points.
Like Ahli, Zamalek are already through to the semi-final of the two-group playoff format.

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