Mali-Algeria qualifier at neutral venue
Mali's home World Cup qualifier against Algeria next month will be played at a neutral venue, Fifa said on Tuesday, while Kenya must provide additional security for games in Nairobi after recent terrorist attacks there.
Fifa also said the Egyptian Football Association is considering allowing soldiers in to watch its opening qualifying game against Mozambique in Alexandria on Friday.
The match, Egypt's first at home since October, was to be played behind closed doors and will be without fans after ongoing unrest following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak last year and deadly clashes at a league game in February that left 74 people dead.
The world football body told The Associated Press in a written reply to questions that the June 9 game between Mali and Algeria, which was scheduled for the Malian capital, Bamako, would now be moved out of the West African country after a coup there in March.
Mali's security arrangements came under scrutiny after a countercoup and clashes between military factions this month led to club teams from Nigeria and Egypt being stranded in Bamako following African Champions League games.
Fifa had been monitoring the situation since March and Algeria requested that the game be moved. Fifa didn't say on Tuesday if it had decided on a new location yet.
Kenya has been troubled by a series of grenade attacks, while an explosion wounded 33 people on Monday in downtown Nairobi and was blamed on a suspected fertilizer bomb. The blast was less than a week before Kenya hosts Malawi in Nairobi in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Fifa said Saturday's game would still go ahead, but Kenya had to ramp up its security.
"Fifa has sent a letter to the Kenyan FF to require additional security focus and measures at any time in Nairobi and especially around the delegations and stadium," football's ruling body wrote. "However, there is no change foreseen regarding the match taking place on Saturday."
Fifa had been formally notified, it said, of the Egyptian federation's plans to allow soldiers to watch the game against Mozambique at a military stadium in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on Friday night. The EFA was given permission by the country's interior ministry to allow the soldiers in and will likely make a decision on Wednesday, it said. No fans will be allowed to attend.
It's the first home game for Egypt since October last year and the first at home for American coach Bob Bradley.
Zak Abdel Fattah, Bradley's assistant coach, said the Egyptian squad was briefly delayed on its bus after a practice session in Alexandria because of minor protests in the area linked to Egypt's elections. But there were no fears of violence at the game, he said.
"It's an army stadium. Very safe, very secure. So there's no problem," Fattah said.