Football association to replace league with ‘Martyrs’ Cup’

Egyptian Premier League club leaders canceled the league for the remainder of 2012 during a Saturday meeting. Members said the league should not continue due to the fragile security situation in the country.

At the meeting, club leaders decided that instead of normal matches,  the league will host a "Martyrs' Cup" between 29 March and 18 May, which will be held without an audience.    

All eighteen of the national premier clubs will participate in the practice cup, with the exception of the Masry Club of Port Said, they said. The armed forces are expected to host the competition in one of their stadiums.

Azmy Megahed, spokesman for the Egyptian Football Association, said that sanctions against the Masry Club would be announced within days, but did not say whether the team would be downgraded or not.

Mamdouh Abbas, President of Zamalek Club, said that the decisions of the association would be suggested to Ahly Club president Hassan Hamdy, who did not attend the meeting, for him to decide whether Ahly Club will participate in the cup or not.

More than 70 people were killed on 1 February when Masry fans flooded the field in Port Said Stadium seconds after the end of a match between the home team and Cairo-based Ahly.

In the weeks following the match, demonstrations in Suez and at the Interior Ministry in Cairo protested what the demonstrators described as lax security measures during the match. At least 17 died during the demonstrations.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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