Egyptian league starts 26 December behind closed doors

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The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has received confirmation from the Ministry of Sports that the new Premier League season will start on 26 December behind closed doors.

Sports Minister Taher Abou-Zeid met with Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim to discuss the issue.
The tournament, which starts on 26 December behind closed doors, was at risk of cancellation due to security concerns. The groups and fixtures draws were delayed many times due to a lack of coordination between the association and the security authorities.

In February 2012, clashes at the Port Said stadium left 72 Ahly fans dead following a game with Masry and led to the season’s cancellation.

The 2013-14 season will have 22 teams divided into two groups. Five teams will be relegated at the end of the season and three promoted, leaving 20 teams in the subsequent season. The following season will see five teams relegated and three promoted, leaving 18 teams in the top league in the third season. The winner and runner-up in each group will qualify for the semifinal.

Zamalek will begin their league campaign with a home tie against Masry of Port Said, while archrivals Ahly will play military club El-Entag El-Harby, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Thursday.

Fans in Egypt have blamed their failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on the  inactivity in domestic football. With Two successive league seasons previously abandoned due to security concerns it remains to be seen if this latest move will materialize.