April 5, 2018 / 4:18 PM / 7 months ago

Soccer-Libya hope to have football ban lifted

TRIPOLI, April 5 (Reuters) - Libya are hoping a three-day visit by a FIFA delegation will lead to a lifting of the ban on hosting international football matches in the strife-torn country.

The delegation watched a first division match in Tripoli on Wednesday and have toured stadium facilities as Libya hope to persuade world football’s governing body to overturn the five-year ban.

“The delegation will check the security situation in Libya so it can report back positively to FIFA and help lift the stadium ban that has been in place since 2013,” said a statement from the Libya Football Federation.

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

An initial restriction was imposed in 2011 during the civil war that led to the ousting of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. It was lifted briefly in 2013 before being reimposed.

Since disputed elections in 2014, Libya has been split between competing political and military factions in the west and east of the country.

The Tripoli government is rejected by its eastern-based rivals. Political turmoil and armed conflict have led to economic collapse, allowing migrant smugglers to flourish and giving space to Islamist militants. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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