74 killed in Egyptian football tragedy

The Egyptian football federation have announced a period of mourning and a suspension of football in the country.

At least 74 people were killed and hundreds injured after fans invaded the pitch in the Egyptian seaside city of Port Said, following an upset victory by the home team over the country’s top club.

The melee which followed an Egyptian league match between Al-Masry, the home team in the Mediterranean city, and Al-Ahly, based in Cairo and one of Egypt’s most popular teams, was the worst case of football violence in the country and the deadliest worldwide since 1996.

One player said it was “like a war.”

The result set off clashes and a stampede as riot police largely failed to intervene.

There were reports of rocks, bottles, flares and fireworks being thrown as politicians in the country criticised a lack of security at the match.

Troops have now been deployed on the streets and dozens of people have been arrested.


And in two statements issued by the Egypt FA, they said: “The Egyptian federation has decided to stop the football leagues in all four divisions for an indefinite period after the violence that occurred in the game between Al Masry and Al-Ahly, which represented a tragic shock to the centre of sport in general and the football family in particular.”

The other added: “The federation has announced that Egyptian football will be in mourning for three days for the souls of those who have fallen victim to the violence that occurred in the wake of the Al Masry-Al-Ahly match.”

Khalil Fahmy, Sky News Arabia correspondent, said police had been heavily criticised for doing nothing to intervene at the ground.

He said: “Many people were crying for help, for police or army intervention. They spent almost an hour without any army or police protection – this resulted in the bad injuries of hundreds of people.

“Most of the dead were killed by head injuries.”

It was a bloody reminder of the deteriorating security in the Arab world’s most populous country as instability continues nearly a year after former President Hosni Mubarak was swept out of power in a popular uprising.