Egyptian Premier League final decision to be taken before May-end: minister

Egyptian Sports and Youth Minister Ashraf Sobhi insisted on Tuesday that the ministry is still keen on resuming the football season if conditions in the country are appropriate, Ahram Online reported.

“Yes, there’s hope, and we want to resume football activity and the league competition, but it is necessary to abide by precautions and instructions in accordance with the vision of the Ministry of Health,” Sobhi told a local state radio.

Football in Egypt has been suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the clubs have halted training and asked players to stay fit at home until further notice.

Egypt recently eased coronavirus restrictions, but football officials were not given a timeframe on when they can restart the domestic league.

“We are now in a safe zone to continue the premier league. But each organisation, whether the clubs or the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), will be responsible for applying all instructions and complying with precautions,” he added.

The EFA is scheduled to send the final decision regarding the current season to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) by 15 May, according to the EFA president Amr El-Ganainy.

Last Thursday, the EFA extended the suspension of all football activities in the country for a further two weeks as the nighttime curfew in Egypt was extended.

“I requested from El-Ganainy to prepare two scenarios and plans for both decisions; resuming the season or cancelling it. It’s necessary to have a plan in case the season is cancelled, putting into the consideration who will be crowned the champions, who will qualify to the continental competitions, and who will relegate,” said the sports minister.

“The final decision will be announced before the end of May,” he concluded.

Defending champions Ahly are the overwhelming favourites to win a fifth straight title as they top the table with 49 points after 17 games, 16 ahead of the nearest challengers Arab Contractors, who have played one game more than the Red Devils.

According to the latest health ministry statement issued on Monday, Egypt registered 346 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 9,746 cases, with a death toll of 533 nationwide.