Relegated clubs reprieved by Egyptian FA

A protestor in Cairo's Tahrir Square
Egypt's national football league was suspended for nearly three months earlier this year as revolution swept around the country from Cairo's Tahrir Square

The Egypt Football Association (EFA) is expanding the country's top division from 16 teams to 20.

The decision means that the teams which finished in the bottom three at the end of last season will not be relegated.

The EFA says the move is in recognition of the "exceptional circumstances" faced by clubs during Egypt's political revolution earlier this year.

The league was suspended for more than two months as protests gathered pace across the country.

The clubs who will benefit most from the decision are Al Ittihad, Smouha and Arab Contractors, who were all due to be relegated to the second tier of Egyptian football.

The fourth extra place will come from a three-team mini league made up of the sides which finished second in each of the three sections of the second division.

The decision came on the day former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak went on trial on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters.