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Abou-Rida: Return of football fans is vital
FIFA executive committee member Hany Abou-Rida said that the return of Egyptian football fans to the stands in the upcoming period is vital.
Abou-Rida, who is also the national team general supervisor, said that he’s trying to avoid questions from the officials in the African Federation and in FIFA regarding the absence of football fans from Egyptian stadiums.
“We have crossed all the lines in the Egyptian league and the national team matches; we play without one of the major elements of the game, the fans,” Abou-Rida said in a radio interview on Sunday.
“There is no country that play its games for three or four years without fans, therefore the African and international federations should interfere, but they understand the situation in Egypt,” Abou-Rida added.
Fans were banned in February 2012 after Portsaid stadium disaster that left 72 Al Ahly fans dead. The ban was lifted in February 2015 but immediately re-imposed after 20 Zamalek fans died at the Air Defense stadium stampede.
“We won’t remain unable to organize games for a long time, there are plenty of ways to regulate the issue and we must realize that the fans abide when they find a role model,” the FIFA executive added.
Egyptian Football Association board member Mahmoud El-Shamyhas previously said that the stadiums will be ready to host crowds again after the parliamentary elections. He added that they are currently contacting different security companies to handle the issue.
“We need to have knowledge on how the fans could enter and leave the stadiums safely. This issue is studied in many countries around the world but we are lagging behind,” Abou-Rida said.
“It’s about time we study the issue. The national team, Al Ahly and Zamalek are in need for the fans in the upcoming period, it’s not difficult and actions should be taken quickly,” he concluded.
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) have announced on Friday that over 20,0000 fans will attend the Pharaohs game against Chad in the second-leg of World Cup qualifier on November 17.