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Football league to resume in February

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The football league is set to restart on 1 February, one year to the day after the deadly attack on football fans which left over 70 dead in Port Said

Egyptian soldiers stand guard during an Al-Ahly match in Cairo in 2011. (AFP FILE / MOHAMMED HOSSAM)

Egyptian soldiers stand guard during an Al-Ahly match in Cairo in 2011. (AFP FILE / MOHAMMED HOSSAM)

The Egyptian Premier League is set to be held in February after a hiatus of five months.

The decision to resume the league was reached on Saturday, after top sports officials and Ministry of Interior officials held a meeting and released a joint statement.

Mohamed Sa’ad, the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahly.com fan website, said there were also indirect talks with members of the Ultras Ahlawy, Al-Ahly’s fan group.

Sa’ad said talks were held with all parties involved and so the decision is consensual.

Sa’ad believes that it is diffiuclt to postpone the league any longer. Postponing the league has caused financial problems for sports clubs, their employees and even the news services dedicated to covering the sport.

The first round is set to be played without fans in the stadiums. The first leg will start from the 8th week of the original schedule.

The football league was set to start on 17 September but amid opposition to resuming matches by Ultras Ahlawy, the league was repeatedly postponed.

The Ultras demand someone is held accountable for the deaths of dozens of football fans in what came to be known as the Port Said Massacre. The deadly attack on the fans took place following a football match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry on 1 February, 2011.

The attack left youth in general and football fan groups enraged. Ultras Ahlawy believe the trial of those accused of killing the fans should be completed before the league is resumed.

Sa’ad said that after talking to some people in the fan group, they said they will accept the verdict whatever it is. The verdict will come out on 26 January.

Hundreds of members of Ultras Ahlawy protested in October outside the Ministry of State for Sports after appeals were made to the ministry to resume the league.


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