Good news for football fanatics in the country - Prime Minister Mahlab has announced he's pro fans returning to stadiums...
Egyptian football fans finally have something to look forward to, as Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has publicly announced that he is in favour of fans returning to the stands for the final phase of the season.
Much to the chagrin of Egyptian football fans nationwide, a crowd ban has been in place, barring fans from supporting their team in stadiums since the February 2012 Port Said massacre that left 72 dead. Since then Ultra supporters have been protesting the decision by uniting outside the stadiums during matches, collectively voicing their anger and frustration.
After years of being deprived and seemingly unheard, progress has finally been made thanks to a meeting on Monday night, between the Interior Minister, Egyptian Football Association officials and club presidents to find a solution to the variety of issues ranging from safety to finances.
"Mahlab offered full support to Egyptian clubs and agreed to back their suggestions to get the fans back into the stands, starting from the mini-league," EFA spokesman Azmy Megahed told Ahram Sport. "The Prime Minister also agreed to postpone the due dates for clubs' taxes and debts until 2016, and to allow clubs to market their TV rights individually starting from next season," he added.
The agreement that was struck concerning the return of fans is that clubs will provide a list of supporters and each fan will have to show their identification card and will be searched before entering the stadiums. Implementing this plan will be tricky, but considering the history of safety concerns surrounding Egyptian football, the measures although inconvenient, are necessary.
On a related side note, FIFA agreed on May 2nd to allow the Egyptian Premier League to play its final phase in June, despite conflicting with the summer's World Cup. There are only two weeks left in the season to decide which four teams will qualify for the final mini-league. At the end of the day getting to watch some football live is better than nothing, and hopefully, building a record of good behaviour, Egypt will finally be able to put this ugly chapter in football history behind them.