Thursday Jan 17, 2019. 12:00
Egypt’s sports minister Ashraf Sobhy says he is opposed to the prospect of cancelling the current season of the Egyptian Premier League to accommodate the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Most of Egypt’s top flight teams have completed 19 of 34 rounds in the 2018/19 season, but the likes of Zamalek (16 matches), Ismaily (15) and Al Ahly (14) – who are all involved in CAF club competition – have plenty of ground to make up.
Reports in Egypt suggest that the current season simply cannot be completed due to the country’s commitments to hosting the continental tournament, but Sobhy says cancelling the EPL is not an option.
“I completely oppose the idea of cancelling the league. This would be against professionalism. The competition must be completed,” Sobhy told ON TV channel on Wednesday.
“We have played many African Cup tournaments without cancelling the league.
“The Egyptian Football Association is responsible for choosing the stadiums of the African Cup according to CAF’s rules regarding climate and capacity, so it would be difficult to play some matches in Upper Egypt.”
The North African country was awarded the hosting rights for the 2019 AFCON earlier this month, after defeating South Africa in a CAF executive committee vote in Dakar.