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Egypt given World Cup play-off security deadline

As political and social unrest continues to destabilise the North African country, concerns have been raised over the suitability of Cairo as a venue for the deciding leg of the play-off on November 19 - with the Ghana FA asking this week for the game to be moved to a neutral location.

And while they have so far stopped short of taking that action, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has now set an October 28 deadline for the Egyptian FA to provide written assurances over safety.

In a letter to both associations released to the media on Saturday, Valcke wrote: "With regards to the recent security situation prevailing in Cairo and in some different spots in Egypt, and in order to ensure that all the parties concerned can organise their matches and play them in a totally safe and secure environment, we would like to ask the Egyptian Football Association to coordinate with the national authorities by Monday 28th October at the latest, the written security guarantees as well as the global security plan around this match in compliance with the FIFA Stadium, Safety and Security Regulations as of the arrival of the delegations (visiting team and FIFA Match Officials) up to their departure with all the necessary precisions regarding their stay and protection in Cairo.

"Although all our hopes and wishes sincerely expect that the security situation (in Egypt) will go back to normal in a definite manner, we would need to consider alternatives in the event that this were not the case in November.

"We will keep monitoring the situation."

The first-leg of the play-off takes place on Tuesday in Kumasi.

Ghana qualified for the play-off after topping CAF Group D with five wins from their six matches, while Egypt came through Group G with a perfect six-match winning run.