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Newly elected EFA chairman Abou-Rida plans to bring fans back to stands

Hany Abou-Rida

Photo: EFA

Newly elected Egyptian Football Association (EFA) chairman Hany Abou-Rida has revealed his plans for the league ahead of the 2016-17 campaign, as well as suggestions for bringing fans back to stands.

Abou-Rida was elected on Tuesday night as the new EFA chairman. He will replace Gamal Allam who was elected as the EFA chairman in 2012.

The FIFA Council member said during a televised interview he insists on his suggestion of bringing back fans back to the stands, by allowing supporters of the home team to attend, while banning away fans from entering the stadium.

Football matches in Egypt are currently held behind closed doors as fan attendance was banned in February 2012 after Port Said stadium disaster that left 72 Al Ahly fans dead. The ban was lifted in February 2015 but immediately re-imposed after 19 Zamalek fans died at the Air Defense stadium stampede.

Abou-Rida also said the majority of the league matches will be held on the weekends; Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He also said that holding more than one match per day on the same stadium, would ease the job of the security forces.

The EFA chairman expressed his sadness over the loss of former Al Ahly defender Wael Gomaa, who hung up his boots in 2014, in the 2016 EFA elections.

Gomaa failed to secure a seat as an EFA board member as the newly elected EFA board included Karam Kordy, Sahar El-Hawary, Hazem El-Hawary, Seif Zaher, Khaled Latif and Mohamed Aboul-Wafa. Essam Abdel-Fatah, Magdy Abdel-Ghany, Hazem Emam, and Ahmed Megahed were also among the elected members.

“If there’s a chance of hiring Wael Gomaa in any position, that would be great because I feel he’s a person with lots of thoughts and ambition for football,” Abou-Rida said.

Abou-Rida confirmed that former chairman of refereeing committee and current board member Essam Abdel Fattah will manage the refereeing committee temporarily until a new chairman is appointed. He also stated that he is yet to name the EFA’s new vice president.

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