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Egypt withdraws bid to host AFCON, backs Algeria instead
Egypt has announced that is withdrawing its bid to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), and will instead support neighbors Algeria in its quest to host the tournament for the first time since 1990.
“We have decided to withdraw our application and will support Algeria’s,” said Egyptian Youth and Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz, who made Monday’s announcement.
The decision comes on the heels of Egypt’s latest football-related disaster, as 20 fans of Cairo giants Zamalek died two weeks ago when police used teargas to disperse crowds attempting to enter the Air Defense Stadium to watch a league match.
Egypt’s domestic league has been suspended ever since.
Efforts to host international tournaments have been in serious doubt since February 2012, when 72 fans of Cairo’s Al-Ahly were killed in Port Said Stadium.
The domestic league encountered myriad stoppages in the years that followed, and has largely been played without the presence of fans.
The decision leaves Algeria battling Ghana and Gabon for the right to host AFCON 2017.
The winning bid will be announced on April 8.
Despite their storied rivalry on the pitch, it is thought that Algeria will also support an Egyptian bid to host the tournament sometime in the future.