Fans set fire to seats
Photo: AFP
Bitter rivalry between teams
Photo: AFP

More than 70 die in Egyptian soccer pitch invasion

Dozens killed, at least 1,000 injured as soccer fans run onto field in Port Said, attack players. 'This isn't football, it's war,' one player says

Seventy-three people were killed and at least 1,000 injured on Wednesday after a soccer pitch invasion in the Egyptian city of Port Said, a health ministry official said, in an incident that one player described as "a war, not football".


"This is unfortunate and deeply saddening. It is the biggest disaster in Egypt's soccer history," deputy health minister Hesham Sheiha told state television.


Watch fans storm the field


Violence at football matches across north Africa has increased significantly since political unrest sweeping across the region began more than a year ago.


Wednesday's trouble flared at the end of a match when Port Said team al-Masry beat Al Ahli, one of Egypt's most successful clubs, 3-1.


העימותים בין האוהדים הנצים על הדשא

Fans clash on the field


Live television footage showed fans running onto the field and chasing Ahli players. A small group of riot police formed a corridor to try to protect the players, but they appeared overwhelmed and fans were still able to kick and punch the players as they fled.


"This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us. There is no movement and no security and no ambulances," Ahli player Mohamed Abo Treika told his club's television channel.


"I call for the premier league to be cancelled. This is horrible situation and today can never be forgotten."

State television reported that Egypt's football federation had indefinitely delayed premier league matches.


Another match in Cairo was halted by the referee after receiving news of the violence in Port Said, prompting fans to set parts of the stadium on fire, television footage showed.




פרסום ראשון: 02.01.12, 22:13
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