Source Pravda.Ru

Egypt Soccer tragedy: What happened?

February 1: One of the darkest days in the history of soccer and sport after a pitch invasion and clashes between rival fans of the clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly in Port Said left at least 74 people dead and around 1,000 injured.

After the game between the two top clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly in Port Said, rival groups of fans clashed on the pitch and on the terraces of the stadium armed with knives. Some of the dead are security officers - there were not enough riot police to stop the ensuing chaos after the home side al-Masry won 3-1, infuriating the notoriously violent Ultras of the visiting team, al-Ahly.

The banter between the two rival groups of fans turned ugly during the game, with escalating threats of violence and tension after a visiting fan unfurled a banner insulting the home fans. Then when the game finished, al-Masry fans invaded the pitch, attacking the visiting players; the few security forces trying to intervene were overwhelmed, the visiting fans entered the fray and the deaths and injuries were caused by stab wounds, concussion (the result of blunt instruments used to deliver blows to the head) and suffocation in the panic and stampede. The stadium was set alight as the battle raged.

Local sources state that there may be a convergence of vectors which contributed to this horrific human toll: in the aftermath of political violence, policing has been more low-key; the al-Ahly supporters, particularly the group known as the Ultras, are notoriously violent; there have been recent issues between the Ultras and the security forces. Some sources are blaming political groups for the violence, saying it has nothing to do with soccer. After this, the emergency law will almost certainly not be lifted.

The Egyptian soccer season has been halted for the Premier League clubs and the Parliament will discuss the situation on Thursday.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter commented: "This is a black day for football. Such a catastrophic situation is unimaginable and should not happen

Aleksei Federov

Pravda.Ru

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