Former president of Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Hani Abu Rida hinted before that Egypt can organise the 2030 FIFA World Cup. Abdelmounaïm Bah, Acting General Secretary of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), also said that he hoped Egypt would host the tournament in 2030. The question now is: will Egypt really bid again to host the most prestigious football event after losing to the organisation of the 2010 World Cup? It’s not easy or no.
Egypt had applied to host the event in 2010, but it failed to collect any votes, while eventual hosts, South Africa, won only two more votes than Morocco.
Speculation over Egypt’s potential bid to host the World Cup began over a year ago, when Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy announced the country’s intention to join the race for hosting the event. Sobhy’s statement came as a surprise due to the large costs of organising sporting events of this magnitude. These costs are set to increase further after FIFA’s announcement that they would be raising the number of participating teams by 50% from 32 countries to 48 starting from the 2026 edition.
We review three reasons why Egypt is eligible to host the global tournament in 10 years time:
Egypt has succeeded in developing its sports infrastructure over the past five years, and has developed its tourism facilities across the country to accommodate large groups of visitors. On this basis, Egypt is quite qualified to host the global event.
Two African championships
Egypt has already proven its ability to host major sports events through its organisation of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, both in terms of stadiums and logistics. It also hosted the tournament draw ceremony in front of the Giza Pyramids.
Egypt faced another challenge during that African tournament, as the number of participating teams was increased from 16 to 24 for the first time in the history of the event. The hosts’ early exit following a defeat against South Africa in the round of 16 also added more pressure on the organising committee to keep the buzz about the tournament.
Abu Rida, who is also a prominent FIFA member, said the tournament was rated as the most successful edition in the championship’s history.
“This is a success for the Egyptian state, and I am proud of my Egyptian nationality,” he said at the time.
In the same year, Egypt hosted the U23 Africa Cup of Nations between 8 and 22 November. The tournament was initially scheduled to take place in Zambia, but they withdrew from hosting in July 2017.
Hosting two continental events within the same year surly proved Egypt’s capability to organise big tournaments.
Economists estimated that the costs for hosting the 2030 World Cup would range between $20-35bn, which Egypt can provide if it harnesses its full potential. It can also get support from the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The organisation costs of the 2018 World Cup in Russia reached $20bn, a cost which is likely to rise in the future, given that the number of participating countries will increase to 48. Egypt can still overcome this challenge, as was the case with the AFCON which was assigned to Egypt only six months before the event, while FIFA chooses the hosts several years before the World Cup.
EFA restructures for new season
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA)’s five-member normalisation committee prepared a number of recommendations to the new council to be elected in August or September. The recommendations aim to help the new board avoid the mistakes and problems of the current season.
The EFA will adhere to the application of its bylaw for foreign players in the upcoming season, which was sent to clubs before the current season started. It stipulates that clubs can have a maximum of four foreign players registered during the season. They cannot sign foreign players unless these players have played in the first or second tier in their countries.
Gamal Mohamed Ali, member of EFA normalisation committee, said this bylaw was approved since the beginning of the season. He noted that it is illogical for a team to include more than four foreign players in its squad and deprive young Egyptians of the opportunity to play.
Adjusting coach status
The second recommendation from the EFA committee is the high turnover of coaches during the season, where the committee is to recommend that the coach can train a maximum of two clubs per season.
Price cap for players
The committee also recommended setting a ceiling for club contracts with players in Egypt, with the committee arguing that the cost of players becoming too high.
Amending player contracts
The committee also called for amending player contracts to include a clause that clarifies the relationship between the player and his club in the event of a league suspension. It would also include a clause to reduce salaries on a 20% ratio if the league is suspended.
A unified ball
The committee is determined to unify the specifications of match balls used in the Egyptian Premier League.
Professional players association
The committee has argued for a League of Professional Clubs to be formed in the new season, provided that it has the right to run the league competition and to form the competition committee.
English Premier League clubs to decide on 2019/20 season fate
With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, no one knows if, or when, the remaining games in the 2019/20 English Premier League will be played, after the competition had ground to a halt on 31 March due to the pandemic. According to English media reports, the 20 Premier League clubs will virtually meet on Friday to explore options regarding the competition’s resumption.
The English Football League (EFL) has previously suggested resuming the competition on 6 June in case of the approval of the British government. If so, matches will take place behind closed doors.
Media reports said that the league can end within 56 days, allowing a minimum period of rest in preparation for the new 2020/21 season.
Some English clubs risk bankruptcy if the Premier League suspension continues, while the EFL granted £50m to clubs to assist them during the crisis.