Egypt’s Premier League, a popular professional league for Egyptian clubs, is due to start on September with ensured fan attendance.
According to Ahram Online, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has announced that fans will be allowed to attend matches once more according to stadium capacity. This decision is yet to be confirmed by Egypt’s security apparatus; however, judging from the successful and stable fan participation during the African Cup of Nations held in Egypt, the plans to allow regular fan attendance are expected to proceed forward.
“We will work with a system similar to Tazkarti that was used in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations,” stated EFA Competitions Committee Amer Hussien.
“It’s difficult to use the VAR system in the coming edition of the Egyptian Premier League due to its high cost,” Hussien said.
Tazkarti, an Egyptian online market place, was praised by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi at the National Youth Conference held July 30 and 31, 2019 in the New Administrative Capital.
The system required for fans to enter personal data and information from their national identification card to be able to register their attendance to matches prior to buying tickets.
Deemed controversial as it stored personal information of attendees, the system nonetheless aimed at ensuring the absence of potentially rowdy fans and Ultras for security reasons.
The 2018-2019 league saw irregular fan attendance in stadiums; some matches were attended by as many as 300 hundred fans while others saw an attendance of officials only despite Minister of Youth and Sports, Ashraf Sobhy’s announcement that football fans would be to watch matches in stadiums, beginning September 1st, 2018.
Still reeling from a massacre that occurred during the Al Ahli and Al Masry match, the government has been apprehensive of fans ever since.
The massacre dates back to 2012, when during a football match at Port Said Stadium between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry Sporting Clubs, the fans of the latter Sporting Club attacked Al-Ahly fans, with no intervention from the security personnel. This prompted a ban of fans at football matches for an extended duration.
After three years, the stadiums were reopened, then swiftly closed again following the death of 22 Zamalek fans at Cairo International Stadium.
Moreover, at the Forum, the Egyptian president announced that the country would not be hiring foreign football trainers, leaving no choice but for the Youth and Sports Minister to hire an Egyptian coach to train the Egyptian football team.
In July, Hany Abou Rida, the President of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), resigned from the Presidency of the EFA following Egypt’s shock elimination from its 1-0 defeat against South Africa at the African Cup of Nations.
Javier Aguirre, the Mexican manager of the Egyptian football team, and his administrative and technical support were also sacked, leaving the team currently without a coach.
In the first matches of the 2019-2020 Premiere League, 41 times winner Ahly will face Ismaily while Zamalek and Petrojet will face each other on the first day of the championship, September 19.