Libya Football Federation confirms stadium ban to be lifted

(SATSports- Football)- The Libya Football Federation (LFF) has announced the first steps in the lifting of a ban on the use of its stadiums for international matches.

Security issues means that Libyan clubs and its national team have not been able to play on home soil for more than seven years.

The news came after a recent visit from a Confederation of African Football (Caf) delegation to inspect facilities and the security situation in the north African country.

“I have good news today, especially for football fans and all Libyans, which is the lifting of the complete ban on all our stadiums, especially the ban in terms of security,” said LFF president Abdulhakim Al-Shalmani in a video message on Twitter

The LFF’s deputy secretary general Mohammed Gremida confirmed to BBC Sport Africa that the first stadium set to host games is the Benina Martyrs Stadium in Benghazi.

He added that the lifting of the ban depends on the fulfilment of several requirements over the next 10 days.

Gremida confirmed that he is responsible for ensuring that things like the stadium’s operations centre, its changing rooms and security are all improved within the timeframe.

A delegation from Caf is set to return at a date after 15 March to inspect those improvements before that ban is formally lifted.

Libya’s national team and its clubs competing in African club competition have been forced to stage home matches outside their borders, in countries like Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia, since the ban was imposed.

The initial restriction was ordered by football’s world governing body in 2011 during the civil war that led to the ousting of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. It was lifted briefly in 2013 before being reimposed.

Once the ban has been formally lifted Al Ahly Benghazi could host their first home game in the group phase of the African Confederation Cup against Entente Setif of Algeria on March 17. 

It also means that Libya’s national team can host neighbours Tunisia in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier a week later.

“We have been asked by Caf to put together a security plan to receive the Tunisian team at the Martyrs Benina Stadium, as well as to host other matches later in other Libyan stadiums,” he added.

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