Egypt Suspends All Football In The Country

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) have suspended the country's football league indefinitely. The EFA said in a statement that action would resume once stability has been restored in the nation. Anti-government protests have been taking place in Cairo and other cities for almost two weeks. Egypt's Premier League games were suspended last week, but now matches across all four divisions as well as youth games have also been postponed.

Protesters have this week stepped up their campaign to oust President Hosni Mubarak after a authoritarian reign of almost 30 years, with pro-Mubarak and anti-Mubarak groups fighting street battles in the capital city. Dozens have been killed since the protests began.

Earlier this week, USA cancelled a friendly international against Egypt scheduled for next Wednesday. The second leg of Cairo club Zamalek's African Champions League qualifying tie against Ulinzi of Kenya, scheduled for Cairo on 13 February, is also in doubt. Zamalek won the first leg match 4-0 on Saturday but the team was then stranded in Kenya because of the violence at home. There are reports that Zamalek have requested permission from the Confederation of African Football to play the game in Libya.

Anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa for the past two month have made football league cancellations the region’s flavour of the day. Libya and Algeria extended their league suspensions indefinitely with anti-government demonstrations planned for February 12 in Algiers and February 17 in Benghazi and Tripoli.

The Algerian Football Federation further announced this week the cancellation of its friendly against Tunisia scheduled for February 5. Weeks of mass demonstrations last month toppled Tunisian President Zine Abedine Ben Ali.

It remained unclear whether Libya will go ahead with plans for a friendly against Morocco scheduled for February 9 in Marrakesh. Morocco has so far been spared the mass protests that elsewhere in the region in demand of improved living standards and economic opportunity, a halt to commodity price hikes and corruption and greater political rights.

The cancellation of Libyan matches was prompted by demonstrations against corruption in public housing in provincial cities and government fears that US diplomatic cables disclosed by Wikileaks, detailing the corruption and decadent lifestyle of the family of Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi could fuel further protests.

Source: Associate Press, BBC

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