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Egyptian league, cup competitions to resume in fall

Al Ahly fans celebrate and shout slogans in front of Al Ahly club after hearing the final verdict of the 2012 Port Said massacre in Cairo

Al Ahly fans, also known as “Ultras”, celebrate and shout slogans in front of the Al Ahly club after hearing the final verdict of the 2012 Port Said massacre in Cairo January 26, 2013. Twenty-two people were killed on Saturday in violence that erupted in Port Said, northeast of Egypt’s capital, after protesters took to the street angry that people from their city had be blamed for a soccer disaster, state television said. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SPORT SOCCER CRIME LAW)

REUTERS

Despite persistent security concerns that have caused the last two Egyptian Premier League seasons to be canceled halfway through, the Egyptian Football Association has decided to restart competition. Both league and cup play will resume before the end of November.

The Egyptian Cup will kick off first, on Oct. 17, followed by the second-tier league on Nov. 14 and the first- and third-tier leagues on Nov. 23. All competitions should finish by May.

“All dates announced are final and have been determined after coordination with the security authorities and the sports minister, Taher Abou Zaid,” Hassan Farid, Egyptian FA deputy chairman, told Al-Ahram daily newspaper on Wednesday. “All expressed support for resuming football activity.”

Still, security concerns are extreme in a country in political upheaval. The national team, coached by American and former U.S. coach Bob Bradley, will play its Sept. 10 home World Cup qualifier against Guinea behind closed doors at military-owned Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

On Thursday, Egyptian interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim survived an assassination attempt when bombs went off near his car convoy in Cairo. Nobody died in the attack, but 21 people were wounded severely, with some suffering leg amputations.

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