Al Ahly: Completing the season is essential

Al Ahly: Completing the season is essential
Al Ahly player Walid Azarou

by Graeme Jackson

Sunday May 03, 2020. 14:00

Al Ahly, who are runaway leaders in the Egyptian Premier League, insist that completing the 2019-20 season is essential to avoid an enormous financial blow for them and fellow clubs.

The country’s Premier League has been suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only about half of the campaign having been completed.

Many clubs have warned against the prospect of restarting the league due to health and safety reasons, while Egyptian FA official Hossam El Zanati recently warned that the time frame to close out the current season is tightening.

However, the Red Devils argue that not finishing the season will leave many clubs on the brink of financial ruin.

“Any decision other than resuming the season … will result in the clubs losing their earnings from marketing and television rights,” the club said in a statement on their official website, as quoted by Ahram Online.

“Ahly, and possibly all clubs, have already paid around 85 percent of the salaries of players and members of the technical, administrative and medical staffs. If the season is cancelled, the clubs will not get more than 50 percent of television and sponsorship rights.”

Ahly added, “There is no need to rush into taking a decision to call off the league, given that there is still enough time after the Olympic Games and the African qualifiers for national teams were postponed.”

Egypt has cancelled its domestic season twice in the last decade: the 2011-12 campaign was scrapped in the wake of the Port Said disaster, which left over 70 Ahly fans dead, and the following season was also called off following the mass protests that toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

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