Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1168, (10 - 16 October 2013)
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1168, (10 - 16 October 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Ghana wants change

Ghana has written to FIFA requesting that the second leg World Cup qualifying match with Egypt not be played in Egypt.
Inas Mazhar reports

sports03
sports03
Al-Ahram Weekly

While the Pharaohs prepare for the first leg match against the Black Stars in Kumasi, Ghana, on 15 October, Ghana is requesting that the return leg of the World Cup qualifying playoff with Egypt scheduled for 19 November to be moved outside Egypt to what was described as a safe and secure venue.
The request by the Ghana Football Federation to FIFA was sent on Monday night in reaction to the political unrest in Egypt, particularly incidents which broke out on Sunday when more than 50 people died and hundreds were injured in Cairo, Giza and Alexandria. The following day saw military and police being killed in Ismailia and South Sinai, forcing Ghana to officially take its concerns to the world governing football body FIFA. Just 24 hours ago, 50 people were killed following protests in the Cairo which led to clashes between security forces and supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.
Thousands of supporters of Morsi fought with security forces in Cairo, in the most intense violence for several weeks, the BBC has reported.
The violence has shown no sign of abating with at least nine Egyptian soldiers and police officers have been killed in two attacks in different regions, according to media reports.
The Ghana Football Association has asked FIFA to check the security situation of Egypt, the host of the second leg match, and re-evaluate the decision to host the game in Cairo.
In a detailed letter, the GFA articulated its concerns at the deteriorating security situation in Egypt:
“The Ghana Football Association (GFA) wishes to kindly request FIFA to move the venue for the 2014 World Cup qualifying second leg, play-off between Egypt and Ghana on 19 November, 2013 from Egypt to a safe and secure venue.
“Our request is premised on the alarming and fast deteriorating security situation in Egypt. Since the date, kick-off and venue for the second leg match were set, no official information has been received by the GFA from the Egypt Football Association of FIFA contrary to Article 19 (2) of the Regulations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil.
“Unfortunately, we have learnt about the date, kick-off and venue for the second leg match between Egypt and Ghana from the media. We are still waiting to receive the said information as per the relevant regulations and the letter dated 16 September 2013 signed by Gordon Savic, head of FIFA World Cup and Olympic qualifiers to the 10 countries participating in the FIFA World Cup qualifying play-offs for Africa.
“The GFA is gravely concerned that for the past two years Egyptian authorities have only allowed football matches to be played without spectators yet Ghana has reportedly been asked to play Egypt in Cairo before fans. It is noteworthy that Egypt played all their home qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup with Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Guinea in Egypt without spectators.
“Local clubs Ahli and Zamalek played their recent CAF Champions League matches behind closed doors as the security authorities refused the supporters access to the games because of the current turmoil in Egypt.
Just two weeks ago a fan of a local club Zamalek was killed following clashes between ultras and security forces outside the club’s headquarters.
“Since then the violence in Egypt has escalated leaving the GFA and some of the Black Stars players to express their grave concern over their safety for the match scheduled for Cairo in November 2013.
“We are seriously concerned about the security and safety of our delegation and spectators if the match would be played in Egypt as events in the country pointedly indicate that our delegation could be exposed to danger as the violence and insecurity in the country continues relentlessly.
“We are aware of precedents set in countries with security concerns whose home football game including World Cup qualifying matches were moved from their home venues to safer ground in other countries. Notable amongst them were Liberia whose matches during the periods of political and civil unrests were played in Ghana. Cote d’Ivoire also played some of their in Ghana because of civil disturbances in their country. Due to the civil and political problems, Libya played their football games in Tunisia. Between 1 June 2012 and 10 September 2013, the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches involving the Central African Republic were moved to neutral venues due to political instability in that country.
“Much as we sympathise with our brothers at the Egyptian Football Association, we are highly concerned about the security and safety of our players, officials and supporters and would like FIFA to take the necessary steps to protect lives and from both Ghana and Egypt during the second leg game.
“The GFA is asking FIFA to re-evaluate the decision to host the World Cup playoff in Egypt in November as the safety of our delegation would be as risk if the match is played in Cairo.
“Consequently, we hereby kindly request that in consonance with FIFA’s tradition in similar circumstances, the match be moved to a neutral venue to forestall the potential but avoidable threat to life and property,” said the GFA letter to FIFA.
Board member of the Egyptian Football Association Sahar Al-Hawari said that as far as the EFA was concerned, they had not received anything from FIFA regarding Ghana’s concerns. “When FIFA contacts the EFA officially, we can then comment. But we don’t think there is a problem here.
Qualifying for the World Cup is Egypt’s dream and the whole nation is supporting this. Besides, we played many matches, World Cup qualifiers and Ahli and Zamalek at the African Champions League in Cairo, El-Gouna and Borg El-Arab and fans were allowed in and there were no problems. I believe it is too early to speak about that,” Al-Hawari told Al-Ahram Weekly.

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