Ghana ask for World Cup qualifier to be moved from Egypt
The Ghana Football Association has asked Fifa to move the return leg of their 2014 World Cup play-off tie against Egypt to a neutral venue. With dozens of people killed over the weekend in the latest clashes in Cairo the GFA is concerned about security.
“We are seriously concerned about the security and safety of our delegation and spectators if the match is played in Egypt. Events in the country pointedly indicate that our delegation could be exposed to danger as the violence and insecurity in the country continues relentlessly,” reads the Ghana Football Association’s (GFA) letter to FIFA published on their official website.
Egypt have cancelled two successive premier league football seasons due to crowd violence and has been in turmoil since the army ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July this year following mass protests against his rule. The security situation became worse when more than 50 pro Morsi supporters died and hundreds were injured in clashes with security forces around Tahrir Square on Sunday. Spectators had been banned from football stadiums since February 2012 when more than 70 fans died in Port Said during clashes between rival supporters.
Thus the GFA eluded this point in their letter which continued to read; “The GFA is gravely concerned that for the past two years Egyptian authorities have only allowed football matches to be played without spectators yet Ghana has reportedly been asked to play Egypt in Cairo before fans,”.
The Egyptians have unsurprisingly rebutted these concerns. They insist there is no reason for the Ghanaian’s “trouble-making.” The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) spokesman Azmy Megahed said; “We are in communication with the governing body of football to explain the matter and Hani Abou-Rida (FIFA executive committee member) is currently making great efforts to solve the problem,”
EFA president Gamal Allam also added; “These claims are unfounded and we reject all demands to play the game outside Egypt. We are capable of securing any game, not just the Ghana one. Ahly and Zamalek have been playing their games in the African Champions League in Egypt without any problems”.
So naturally the Egyptians have come out fighting and the GFA are sympathetic to the political situation in the country but claim the security of their fans and players is paramount.
The match is due to be played on 19 November in Cairo but they may change as we await FIFA’s response. Do you think the GFA are right to have concerns submit this request ? or should they just accept that qualifier be played in Egypt and trust the authorities to guarantee the safety of the Ghana squad and supporters?
Lets get talking!
Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)