Egyptian football fans allowed to return to stadiums for league matches

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All Egyptian Premier League matches have been played behind closed doors since 2012

Egyptian football fans will now be able to attend domestic matches from September 1 after clubs and the Sports Ministry agreed to allow a limit of 5 000 fans to watch games inside stadiums.

This comes as good news for fans who had not been able to attend local matches since the 2012 Port Said disaster.

Seventy two Al Ahly fans died during the match against Al Masry at Port Said Stadium in February 2012, leading to a blanket ban on all fans from attending domestic matches.

Only a limited number were allowed to watch Caf inter-club matches as well as national team matches.

But after recent deliberations, a maximum of 5 000 fans will now be allowed into stadiums for local matches, while 20 000 would be able to attend international games.

Minister of Sports Ashraf Sobhy said after meeting top-flight league club representatives, they reached an agreement to once again open stadiums although the process would be gradual.

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“The agreement was reached in line with the government's keenness on the necessity of the return of the fans to the stands in league games and guaranteeing their safety and not ban them,” Al-Ahram quoted Sobhy as saying.

“We already held meetings with both the interior ministry and army officials to discuss the fans’ return. We hope the youth supporters return to the stands soon. We will do all the needed procedures to achieve that target.”

In 2015, authorities tried to lift the ban but immediately reimposed it after 20 Zamalek fans died following riots outside Cairo Stadium ahead of the match against Enppi.

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