Wednesday, 11 February 2015

More bloody football

The stampede at a Cairo football match which cost 22 fans their lives is the second major football disaster in Egypt in just 3 years. In February 2012, 74 fans were killed in a riot at a match in Port Said.

Since then, the authorities have limited the number of supporters allowed into matches. Only 5,000 tickets are said to have been made available for Sunday’s game between Zamalek and ENPPI at a ground which could hold 30,000.

The authorities claim that fans without tickets tried to storm the ground, while supporters say police fired tear gas and bird shot as they were being forced to go through a fenced-in passageway about 12 feet (3.7m) wide, causing the fatal stampede.

The match went ahead, but football has now once again been suspended in Egypt. President al-Sisi has promised an investigation into the disaster, but relations between the security services and football supporters are known to be strained because of the part played by fans in bringing down President Mubarak.  (See also my blogs of 2 February, 2012 and 29 January, 2013.)

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