Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has shockingly rubbished FIFA’s demand for security guarantees ahead of next month’s home World Cup playoff against Ghana insisting Cairo has already been approved by as the venue for the second leg match.
The claim by the EFA implies that the demand by FIFA for guarantees is only cosmetic, casting the world governing body’s neutrality and honesty in serious doubt.
The EFA sharply contradicted FIFA demands for comprehensive assurances from the governing body claiming they have received their approval to host the match in Ciaro despite the escalating violence and turmoil in the north African country.
Azmy Megahed, spokesman for the EFA, played down the significance of FIFA’s demand that they provide security guarantees before they host the match in Cairo on 19 November claiming it is a routine requirement.
FIFA gave the EFA until 28 October to provide “comprehensive security assurances” before they are allowed to host the second-leg match at the army-owned Air Defence Stadium in Cairo.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general, also said in the letter that the world governing body “would need to consider alternatives in the event that this were not the case in November”.
The FIFA deadline was in response to a Ghana request to switch the match to a neutral venue, given lingering security concerns in Egypt following months of violent protests which have led to the deaths of many with the security forces as one of the key targets.
However, the EFA says the demand by FIFA is only cosmetic as they have already been granted the right to host the match in Cairo, casting FIFA’s honesty and neutrality in doubt.
“This letter is a routine procedure. A FIFA inspection team has already granted us its approval to stage the game at the Air Defence Stadium,” Azmy was quoted by the government-backed media outfit Al Ahram on Saturday.
“The EFA will contact Egyptian authorities to get the necessary security assurances,” he added.
It is now clear that the EFA will only provide letters from the government claiming all is fine in Egypt when there is rising violent attacks on protesters and security forces.
Egypt has been in a bloody political turmoil since the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.
At least 57 were killed in clashes between supporters of Morsi and his opponents and security forces last week as protesters marched nationwide on the 40th anniversary of Egypt’s war against Israel.
Since then several security officers have been killed in attacks by Islamists including suicide bombing in various parts of the country.
Fears are growing that the presence of security officers in the return match between Egypt and Ghana in Cairo could be a target for the Islamists who have targeted security officers since Thursday, killing many.
Ghana host Egypt in the first leg in Kumasi on Tuesday.