x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dozens killed as rival Egypt football fans riot

At least 73 people were feared dead after a riot at a football match between Al Masry and Al Ahly in the Egyptian city of Port Said.

Egyptians football fans invade the pitch following Al Masry's 3-1 against Al Ahly in Port Said.
Egyptians football fans invade the pitch following Al Masry's 3-1 against Al Ahly in Port Said.

CAIRO // At least 73 people were feared dead after a riot at a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said.

Hundreds of fans invaded the pitch after the match between Al Ahly and Al Masry, the Port Said team. Health ministry officials said hundreds were injured. Hesham Sheiha, the deputy health minister, told state television most of the injuries were caused by concussions and deep cuts.

Fans of Al Masry swarmed the field after the match ended in a 3-1 win for their team. Video footage showed terrified players fleeing for safety as rival fans battled.

The players were later taken to the locker room for protection, Sayed Hamdi, a player, told state television.

"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," Abo Treika told the Ahly television channel. "I call for the Premier League to be cancelled. This is horrible situation and today can never be forgotten."

The rivalry between the two clubs is bitter and their fans have clashed violently in the past.

Al Jazeera TV reporter Rawya Rageh said there had been several outbreaks of football violence since the revolution because of the absence of police.

"In the security vacuum, the police force has basically disappeared from the street after their notorious performance during the revolution," he said.

In Cairo, a fixture between Zamalek and Al Ismailia was postponed 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.

Egypt's football federation announced that there would be "indefinite delays" to Premier League matches, state media reported.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

* Reporting by Reuters and Agence France-Presse