The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has lifted a ban on Libya that prevented the country from hosting international matches.
CAF visited Tripoli and Benghazi last month to assess the level of safety and security of stadiums in the cities, and to evaluate the compliance of hotels which have been selected to host teams and officials visiting the North African country.
CAF also assessed the level of compliance at the stadiums with regards to club licensing requirements and CAF safety and security guidelines. Following the inspection, CAF announced that Libya will be able to resume hosting matches.
Matches will initially return to Benghazi Stadium, subject to a number of conditions being met. A CAF committee has set a March 10 deadline for Libya to comply with club licensing, safety and security requirements and to satisfy follow-up inspections on stadium suitability.
Security issues in Libya in recent years have prevented clubs and the national team from playing in their home country. Libyan teams have been forced to play in neighbouring Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia over the past decade.
FIFA, football’s global governing body, imposed a ban on Libya hosting matches in 2011 amid the civil war in the country, which led to the eventual downfall of Muammar Gaddafi. Although the ban was lifted in 2013, it was quickly reimposed.
CAF’s announcement comes ahead of Al Ahly Benghazi’s home match against Algeria’s Entente Setif in the African Confederation Cup on March 17. The Libyan national team is scheduled to play Tunisia at home the following week.
Abdulhakim Al-Shalmani, president of the Libya Football Federation (LFF), said: “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.”