FIFA demand answers from Egyptian FA after at least 74 spectators die in riot as Blatter condemns 'black day' in football
FIFA have demanded a full report into the violence at match in Egypt that left more than 70 people dead.
Al Masry fans invaded the pitch after a surprise 3-1 win over Cairo club Al-Ahly in Port Said, with reports stating as many as 74 people died in the ensuing violence.
There have been claims that security forces and police did not do enough to intervene, and that the violence was tied up with the political power struggle in the country. FIFA has now asked Egyptian authorities to explain exactly what happened.
Egypt's prime minister Kamal el-Ganzouri has dissolved the Egyptian Soccer Federation's board and referred its members for questioning by prosecutors after post-match clashes which resulted in the huge number of deaths.
Scroll down for video…
Victim: A football fan (in white) crouches down, in the Al-Ahly changing room, over his friend who it is believed had been killed during the Egyptian football riot
Chaos: Al-Alhy's players tried in vain to save fans (left) who fled into their changing room after being attacked by thousands of supposed rival supporters
Under fire: Al-Ahly's players fled to their changing rooms, accompanied by several fans, after the violence started
He announced the decision during
Thursday's emergency parliamentary session and revealed the area's
police chief has also resigned.
FIFA said in a statement: 'FIFA has
asked the Egyptian authorities for a full report on the incidents in
order to evaluate what happened.'
a letter to Egyptian FA president Samir Zaher, the world governing
body's president Blatter offered support and said: 'Today is a black day
for football and we must take steps to ensure that such a catastrophe
never happens again.
'Football is a force for good and we must not allow it to be abused by those who mean evil. I await further news from you concerning the circumstances of this tragedy.'
Home fans reportedly armed with sticks and knives stormed the field after the final whistle. Reports suggest some Al-Ahly fans suffocated, trapped in a narrow corridor as they fled the violence.
Portuguese coach Manuel Jose has returned to Portugal to ponder his
future after being attacked, while his assistant coach Pedro Barny
backed up the claims that security staff did too little.
Missiles: Al-Ahly players ran for their lives as rival fans streamed onto the pitch and headed towards them, throwing bottles and fireworks
Terror: Al-Ahly players were subjected to abuse and beatings as they tried to leave the pitch at Port Said Stadium
Bitter: So-called fans of Al-Masry ram after Al-Ahly players during the riots
'RIOT DEADLIEST SINCE 1996'
The Egyptian football riot was the deadliest incident in the sport since October 1996.
total of 78 fans died and 180 others injured in a stampede at a stadium
in Guatemala City before a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala
and Costa Rica.
match with the most fatalities was in May 1964 when a game between Peru
and Argentina in Lima descended into violence and 318 fans were killed.
Britain's worst football disaster is the Hillsborough tragedy (above) in Sheffield in April 1989, in which 96 supporters died.
said: 'I was beaten with fists and kicks to the neck, head and feet. I
saw our fans die before us and we are unable to do anything.'
Assistant coach Barny added: 'What happened was an unspeakable catastrophe.
From the beginning of the game, the fans of the opposing team's fans
were allowed to fire rockets and stones at us without any intervention.
'In the end, it turned into a state of madness without any role for the security in the stands. We tried to save the lives of some of the fans, but many died before our eyes.'
Egyptian Football Federation last night announced an indefinite
suspension of all leagues in the country following the trouble.
forces loyal to ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak have been
blamed for sparking the football riot which killed 74 people and left
more than 1,000 injured.
flared in the Mediterranean city of Port Said last night after local
team Al-Masry beat Cairo's Al-Ahly – the country's most successful club –
The final whistle
prompted more than 13,000 home fans, armed with knives, iron bars and
machetes, to storm the pitch and attack rival players and their 1,200
Al-Ahly goalkeeper Sharif Ikrami, who
was injured in the clashes and said the entire team had now quit
football, said dead bodies were carried past him in the changing room.
He said: 'There were people dying in
front of us. It's over. We've all made a decision that we won't play
soccer any more. We can't think about it.'
hooliganism, and a bitter long-standing rivalry of clashes between the
two sets of fans, was initially blamed for the worst football riot in
Egyptian history. But speculation is now mounting that the riot was orchestrated by pro-Mubarak forces in revenge against Al Ahly's ultra fans.
Rivalry: Pure hooliganism, and a bitter long-standing hatred between the two sets of fans, was initially blamed for the worst football riot in Egyptian history
Tragedy: Flares were thrown, fireworks aimed at rivals and people stabbed to death as the stadium descended into absolute chaos
Eruption: Speculation is mounting that security forces loyal to ousted president Hosni Mubarak were behind the violence
PORT SAID STADIUM:
The home of Al-Masry FC
Located in Al-Manakh district
Opened in 1955
Used in 2006 African Cup of Nations
2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup also hosted
ultras had used their experience confronting police at matches to play a
significant role in defending Cairo's Tahrir Square – the heart of the
uprising – against Mubarak's heavy-handed security forces.
Albadry Farghali, a member of parliament
for Port Said, screamed in a telephone call to live television: 'The
security forces did this or allowed it to happen.
'The men of Mubarak are still ruling. The head of the regime has fallen but all his men are still in their positions.'
Former Al-Ahly player Hani Seddik told the BBC: 'I don't think this is about football. These trouble-makers were not football fans.
were they allowed to carry knives into the ground To me, this is the
actions of people who do not want the country to be stable and want to
put off tourists from coming here.'
el-Said, a 43-year-old driver in Port Said, said: 'All that happened is
not for the sake of a game. It's political. It was orchestrated by the
military council to target the Ultras.
'The military council wanted to crush the ultras because they sided with protesters ever since the revolution began.'
Violent scenes: Chaos flared in the Mediterranean city of Port Said last night after local team Al-Masry beat Cairo's Al-Ahly – the country's most successful club – 3-1
Snapshot: Even children were seen among the crowds at the stadium of Port Said as violence broke out, with many people filming the scenes on their mobile phones
Reaction: Egypt's state prosecutor ordered an immediate investigation into the violence, and the Egypt Football Association ordered an indefinite suspension of the annual championship
Battered: The violence was caught on camera as chaos erupted across the stadium following the match
Toll: At least 74 people have been confirmed dead and 1,000 injured following the riot
Farouk Ibrahim added: 'Unknown groups came between the fans and they were the ones that started the chaos.
was at the match and I saw that the group that did this is not from
Port Said. They were thugs, like the thugs the National Democratic Party
used in elections.'
He was referring to Mubarak's former NDC party and the polls that were routinely rigged in its favour.
Al-Masry manager Kamal Abu Ali also referred to the speculation, as he
announced he was resigning and said: 'This is not about soccer. This is
bigger than that. This is a plot to topple the state.'
The Muslim Brotherhood, the most
powerful party in Egypt’s parliament, also blamed supporters of the
deposed Mubarak regime for promoting violence at the match as a way to
bring back chaos to Egypt.
Brutal: Fires were set throughout the Port Said Stadium as terrified fans fled for their lives
Burns: Anger is now rising amongst politicians that more was not done to stop the violence
Captured: Cameras showed fire breaking out in a stand at the Port Said stadium as fans battled each other on the terraces
It blamed an 'invisible' hand for causing the violence and said the authorities were negligent. It
said: 'We fear that some officers are punishing the people for their
revolution and for depriving them of their ability to act as tyrants and
restricting their privileges.'
is now rising amongst politicians about the lack of security at the
match, with many accusing the military regime that took over from
Mubarak of allowing, or even causing, the fighting.
el-Naggar, 30, a laboratory technician and member of the Coalition of
the Revolutionary Youth in Port Said, said: 'The military council wants
to prove that the country is heading towards chaos and destruction.
Packed onboard: Hundreds of Al-Ahly fans were greeted by friends and family on their return into Cairo station after the riot last night
Walking wounded: Al-Ahly fans were welcomed at Cairo's Ramses Station
Standing room only: Anxious Egyptians crowded Cairo's train station and the ambulances surrounding it to see if their friends and family would return home
'They are Mubarak's men. They are applying his strategy when he said 'choose me or choose chaos.'
quickly spread across Egypt as thousands gathered at Cairo's main train
station to chant 'Down with military rule' as the injured fans
as covered bodies were unloaded from trains: 'The people want the
execution of the field marshal. We will secure their rights, or die like
Victim: The brother of a football fan killed in the clashes sat today reading the Koran next to his body at a Port Said mosque
Back home: Egyptian soldiers wheeled wounded Al-Ahly football fans today after their arrival in Cairo aboard a military plane
Spattered: Blood remains on a chair at the Port Said Stadium the day after violent clashes
Hundreds of protesters also gathered outside the state television building and marches across the capital are planned for later today. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, 76, who heads the ruling military council, took an unusual step of speaking by telephone to a television channel, the sport broadcaster owned by Al Ahly, and vowed to track down the culprits. The army announced three days of national mourning.
'I deeply regret what happened at the football match in Port Said. I offer my condolences to the victims' families,' Tantawi said. He said a fact-finding committee would be set up and pledged that the army's plan to hand over power to civilians would not be derailed. The army has promised to go back to barracks by the end of June after a presidential election.
He added: 'Egypt will be stable. We have a roadmap to transfer power to elected civilians. If anyone is plotting instability in Egypt they will not succeed.' But his comments have done little to
assuage the anger of fans, who, like many Egyptians, are furious that
Egypt is still plagued by lawlessness and frequent bouts of deadly
violence almost a year after Mubarak was driven out and replaced by an
Parliament will hold an emergency session later today to discuss the violence. Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said 47 people were arrested. Egypt's football federation said it was indefinitely delaying matches for the Egyptian premier league. And the Al Ahly club said it was suspending all sports activities and holding three days of mourning.