x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Cairo school pulls out of visit

Unrest in Egypt forces football team to cancel trip to capital.

ABU DHABI // A school in Egypt has withdrawn from a Middle East sporting event to be hosted in Abu Dhabi due to the ongoing unrest in the North African nation.

The Cairo American Community School was due to send a team of 30 students, plus four teachers and 12 sets of parents, to the capital to compete at the Middle East South Asia Conference football championship.

However, the team have been forced to cancel the trip because of the anti-government protests there.

"The school was closed on Sunday and the administration team are assessing it on a day-by-day basis, but it was best to plan without them," said Kevin Brawn, the athletic/active director at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi.

"The issue has obviously been getting a group of kids on a plane amid curfew times and there is no indication when this may change. Many families at the school in Cairo are expat families, and they are on standby as to whether they will be evacuated."

Mr Brawn said many of the children at the school in Abu Dhabi were concerned for their friends in Cairo.

"Lots of relationships have built and developed over the years as a result of the conference, and the kids are disappointed they are not going to see their friends," Mr Brawn said. "They are also extremely concerned as a lot of them contact each other over Facebook, and obviously they have lost that connection."

The absence of the team from Cairo has reduced the number of competing schools to four for the three-day championship, which starts on Thursday. Dubai American Academy, American School Doha and American School Dubai will join the host school, the American Community School of Abu Dhabi, in contesting the event for boys and girls.

"It is a shame Cairo are not here, as they have been major players in the conference in the past, particularly in basketball, but there is now parity among the schools," Mr Brawn said.

The Cairo school has also been forced to pull out of hosting a regional cross-country event later this month. The American Community School in Abu Dhabi will now host the event.

kaffleck@thenational.ae