ZURICH (AP) — Ghana wants FIFA to move next month's World Cup playoff game at Egypt to a neutral site, saying it's too dangerous to play coach Bob Bradley's team in Cairo.
In a letter to FIFA published on its website, the Ghana Football Association said the match should be moved to a "safe and secure" venue. "Our request is premised on the alarming and fast deteriorating security situation in Egypt," Ghana officials wrote.
At least 51 people were killed in riots in Cairo last weekend linked to the ousting of elected President Mohammed Morsi. Ghana's request is just the latest obstacle for Bradley who was hired in September 2011 — months after President Hosni Mubarak resigned amid a wave of public protests. Egypt has not played at the World Cup since 1990.
FIFA said on Tuesday it received Ghana's letter and will monitor the security situation in Egypt before making a decision. Bradley's team is scheduled to host the return match in Cairo on Nov. 19 to decide which advances to next year's tournament in Brazil. The first leg is Tuesday in Kumasi.
The GFA said some of its players expressed "grave concern over their safety" for the second leg. "Much as we sympathize with our brothers at the Egyptian Football Association, we are highly concerned about the security and safety of our players, officials and supporters and would like FIFA to take the necessary steps to protect lives from both Ghana and Egypt during the second-leg game," the letter stated.
The GFA said Egyptian authorities have barred spectators from soccer matches for the past two years, including World Cup qualifiers against Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Guinea. The playoff draw last month paired Egypt with powerful Ghana, which reached the quarterfinals at the 2010 World Cup when it beat Bradley's U.S. team in the round of 16.
Senegal will play its home second leg against Ivory Coast in Casablanca, Morocco, on Nov. 16. Last October, rioting at the stadium in Dakar when the teams met in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier caused the match to be abandoned.