“All our attempts to change the match venue failed, so we had to inform Caf that Arab Contractors will host the match,” Ahly’s general manager Hassan Massoud told Egyptian website FilGoal.com.
The Egyptian giants could not convince the country’s strict military authorities to have the match moved to the 70 000-seater stadium and would now have to play the crucial second-leg tie at the Arab Contractors Stadium, 12 kilometres from the international arena.
With a crowd capacity of 30 000, it would drastically reduce the effect of fanatical Ahly supporters on the game, but Pirates would now have to battle poorer pitch conditions in their bid for a second African title.
Ahly succeeded last week in getting the fixture moved to Cairo, after the seven-time African champions had been banished to the El-Gouna Stadium in recent months.
Egyptian military authorities did not want any fixtures to be played in the capital city since a coup overthrew president Mohamed Mursi in July, after only one year in office. They feared large gatherings could spark further civil unrest.
Pirates and Ahly met in the group stages of this year’s tournament where the Sea Robbers claimed a convincing 3-0 victory at El-Gouna, leaving Ahly eager to have Sunday’s match moved back to the intimidating atmosphere of Cairo.