Head of the Egyptian Football Association s normalisation committee Amr El-Ganainy revealed on Monday that the Ahly-Zamalek Cairo derby will be played at the end of January, adding that the video assistant referee (VAR) will be applied from the beginning of the second half of the season.
"The [postponed] Ahly-Zamalek league game will be played by the end of the first half of the current Premier League season, at the end of January, because it s the first available date, due to our commitment to resume the league after it had stopped following the fifth round," El-Ganainy told El-Hadath TV Channel.
The Egyptian Premier League stopped after the end of the fifth round because Egypt will be hosting the Africa U23 Cup of Nations from 8 to 22 November.
"The Cairo derby was postponed in accordance with a decision by security authorities. If it turns out that I delayed any game after a phone call from any club s president, hold me accountable," he explained.
Bringing fans back
When El-Ganainy was asked about bringing back fans to the stadiums for league games, he said that they have already returned in the Egypt Cup final between Zamalek and Pyramids FC in September, and in the postponed 2017/2018 Egypt Super Cup game between Ahly and Zamalek, which was played also in September.
"All of us at the EFA want to bring the spectators back to the stadiums, and so do the clubs, but sometimes situations are very hard and out of our control," said El-Ganainy.
"I hope to see a good presence of the fans in the U23 AFCON, like in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations last summer," he added.
El-Ganainy also revealed more details about applying the VAR in domestic competitions, saying, "We have finished all the agreements concerning the use of the VAR starting from the second half of the league, and the announcement will come in a few days."
"We will bring the best VAR technology in the world to the Egyptian Premier League. Only the referees training on that technique remains," he added.
There have been many rumours about a conflict arising in the normalisation committee due to the postponement of the Derby, which El-Ganainy denied, stressing, "We have never even had a reproach between us, our relationship is the best it could be. All that has been said about conflict between us is just rumour."
El-Ganainy promised that the U23 AFCON will be broadcasted with the same high quality of the 2019 AFCON.