Egypt, Libya qualifiers to be played without fans

World Cup qualifiers involving Egypt and Libya next month will

be played without fans and security arrangements for matches in

Mali, Nigeria and Kenya are being scrutinized, FIFA said


Egypt vs. Mozambique in Alexandria on June 1 and Libya vs.

Cameroon in Sfax, Tunisia, on June 10 will be played behind closed

doors, the world football body told The Associated Press in a

written reply to questions. FIFA said the decision was taken by

local authorities and football federations in those countries.

Mali’s game against Algeria could be moved out of the West

African country after the president was toppled in a coup.

The ruling body also was reviewing security plans for Nigeria’s

home game against Namibia in the southeastern city of Calabar.

The match was to be played in Kaduna, in the center of Nigeria,

before bomb attacks there by a radical Islamic sect.

FIFA and the Confederation of African Football hadn’t yet

decided if the Mali-Algeria match would be played in Mali after

recent violence in the capital Bamako following the coup in March

and fighting involving countercoup forces this month.

Two foreign clubs, Sunshine Stars of Nigeria and Al-Ahly of

Egypt, were stranded in Bamako two weeks ago during fighting after

playing African Champions League games.

FIFA said it had been monitoring the situation in Mali since

March. Algeria last week requested the tie be moved to a neutral

venue because of the instability.

”A final decision following further discussions between FIFA

and CAF is likely to be made in the next few days,” FIFA said on

the venue.

Egypt’s interior ministry decided this month that the national

team could open its World Cup qualifying campaign on home soil

after a riot at a club game in February left 74 people dead and

ended all domestic football in the troubled country for the season.

The violence at a stadium in the Mediterranean city of Port Said

also dragged football into ongoing political violence.

Egypt hasn’t hosted an international since October, and despite

initial pleas from Egyptian football authorities for fans to be

allowed back, the government and Egyptian Football Association had

agreed that the match be closed to supporters, FIFA said.

Tunisia hasn’t allowed fans at most games since the Arab Spring

uprising there early last year and would again close off the

Libya-Cameroon game. Libya hasn’t been able to play in its home

country since the start of the civil war that ended Moammar

Gadhafi’s rule.

FIFA had also asked for security plans from Kenya before its

qualifying competition, but added it was ”not unusual.”

Kenya hosts Malawi on June 2 in Nairobi, which has seen

hit-and-run grenade attacks in the last few months that were blamed

on Somali militant group al-Shabab.