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Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Egypt league to resume mid-April

Fans of Egypt's Al Ahly
Al Ahly fans will hope their team can climb the league when football returns

Egypt's football league will resume on 15 April after pausing for three months because of the revolution that toppled ex-president Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian Football Association says the league, which started last August, will now end on 10 July.

The league was suspended in late January because of anti-government protests in Cairo and other cities.

The news has been welcomed by clubs, whose revenue streams have dried up in the absence of league football.

"This is something we were all looking for and which is in the interests of all clubs," Al Ahly board member Khaled Mortagey told BBC Sport.

"All the revenues have been stopped so we could not survive.

"This was also a demand from everyone to make sure that we can get back to normal - and this is a great thing."

At one point, there were widespread concerns among clubs that the league might not resume at all.

According to Mortagey, the country's footballers are also delighted to know that league football is returning.

"When you train without any kind of motivation and competition, you get down," he added.

The league was stopped in January at the halfway stage of the competition as revolution swept through Egypt.

Cairo giants Zamalek, who are chasing their first league title since 2004, top the table with 32 points, three ahead of nearest challengers Ismaily, after 15 matches.

Zamalek's arch-rivals Ahly, who are eyeing a seventh successive league triumph, lie fourth with 26 points.

Football has returned to Egypt since the revolution, when Zamalek hosted and beat Kenya's Ulinzi Stars in a Champions League qualifier on 27 February.

Both Zamalek and Ahly will contest Champions League clashes before the resumption of the league, taking on SuperSport United of South Africa respectively.

Those matches will be played on the weekends of 18-20 March and 01-03 April, which is when Ismaili face Sofapaka of Kenya and Harras Al-Hadoud play Ethiopians Dedebit in the Confederation Cup.

Later this month, Egypt's national team travel to South Africa for a critical Group G game in 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

Should the Pharaohs, who are the reigning African champions, lose, they will be six points behind Bafana Bafana - with only three games left to play.

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see also
Bafana refuse to delay Egypt game
28 Feb 11 |  African
Egypt army's role in ousting Mubarak
19 Feb 11 |  Middle East
Football and fans return to Cairo
27 Feb 11 |  African
Egypt return worries Bekoe
15 Feb 11 |  Africa horizontal
Egypt suspends all football
04 Feb 11 |  African

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