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
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
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.