Egypt’s decision to resume sports activities breathes life into hopes to restart league

The Egyptian government’s decision to resume sports activities in mid-June has breathed life into the hopes of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to restart the domestic league and stave off a financial crisis.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Sunday sports centers and clubs will be allowed to re-open on 15 June, signaling a possible return to action of the premier domestic competition, which has been suspended since mid-March with only half the games played.

The EFA said more than once that the final decision over whether it can restart the competition rests with the government, which is treading cautiously to avoid a big spike of coronavirus cases.

Several clubs, including defending champions and current leaders Ahly, said they hope the league will resume so that they can collect money due from television and sponsorship rights.

However, others voiced safety concerns, including Ahly’s Cairo rivals Zamalek, who virtually have no hopes of catching their perennial foes.

“We have a general feeling of comfort following the prime minister’s announcement,” an EFA source who was not named told local football website FilGoal.com.

“Our original plan was allowing clubs to hold training sessions from the first of June and resume the league in July.

“We have a meeting with the sports minister where we can suggest making an exemption to clubs so that they can practice from the first of June.”

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.