29th January 2005
This story caught my eye due to the amount of deaths that resulted from it. Usual mess from football ultras, along with a country in transition, allowed these to get out of control.
Egypt football violence leaves many dead in Port Said
At least 74 people have been killed in clashes between rival fans following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said.
Scores were injured as fans - reportedly armed with knives - invaded the pitch after a match between top-tier clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly.
Officials fear the death toll could rise further.
It is the biggest disaster in the country's football history, said the Egyptian deputy health minister.
"This is unfortunate and deeply saddening," Hesham Sheiha told state television.
Some of the dead were security officers, the Associated Press news agency quoted a morgue official as saying.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt's ruling army council, went to a airbase near Cairo to welcome back al-Ahly players who were flown back from Port Said on a military aircraft.
"This will not bring Egypt down... These incidents happen anywhere in the world. We will not let those behind it go," he said, AP reports.
A statement posted on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces'
Facebook page announced three days of national mourning, beginning on Thursday.
The statement also promised a full investigation into the incident.
The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says it appears some fans had taken knives into the stadium.
Our correspondent says the lack of the usual level of security in the stadium might have contributed to the clashes.
Police in Egypt have been keeping a much lower profile since last year's popular protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Egyptian fans are notoriously violent, says our correspondent, particularly supporters of al-Ahly known as the Ultras.
They have been heavily implicated in confronting the police during recent political protests, our correspondent adds. There is speculation that the security forces may have had an interest in taking on al-Ahly supporters.
Wednesday's violence broke out at the end of the match, which, unusually, Port Said side al-Masry won 3-1.
Witnesses said the atmosphere had been tense throughout the match - since an al-Ahly fan raised a banner insulting supporters of the home team.
As the match ended, their fans flooded onto the pitch attacking Ahly players and fans.
A small group of riot police tried to protect the players, but were overwhelmed.
Part of the stadium was set on fire.
'Rage in their eyes'
Officials say most of the deaths were caused by concussions, deep cuts to the heads and suffocation from the stampede.
"This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us," al-Ahly player Mohamed Abo Treika said.
Hani Seddik, who played for al-Ahly as a teenager, told the BBC: "I don't think this is about football. These trouble-makers were not football fans."
"How 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," said Mr Seddik, who was watching the match on TV in Cairo.
One al-Ahly fan in Cairo told the BBC that a large march from al-Ahly club to the Interior Ministry is being planned for tomorrow.
"People are angry at the regime more than anything else... People are really angry, you could see the rage in their eyes," Mohammed Abdel Hamid said.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood - which has emerged as Egypt's biggest party in recent elections - blamed supporters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak for the violence.
"The events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime," Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker Essam al-Erian said.
He went on by saying that the army and police wanted to silence critics demanding an end to state of emergency in the country.
In Cairo, another match was halted by the referee after news of the Port Said violence. It prompted fans to set parts of the stadium on fire.
All premier-league matches have been cancelled and the newly-elected Egyptian parliament is to hold an emergency session on Thursday.
Fifa President Sepp Blatter issued a statement, expressing his shock over the incident.
"This is a black day for football. Such a catastrophic situation is unimaginable and should not happen," he said.
Lot of different interpretations of this event. Some point to the issues present in the Sinai, where some Chinese workers have been abducted, others charging this may be a part of a strategy of tension on part of the military. As the article points out Egypt's ultras are rather hardcore, taking part even in the protests. IIRC, the last that occurred was back in April over a club match between an Egyptian and Tunisian team, and earlier between Egypt and Algerian national teams over 2010 World Cup qualifiers when Algeria beat out Egypt for a spot.
Article also has a timeline of previous sport-related incidents:
- May 1964: 318 people killed in riots during a Peru-Argentina match at the National Stadium in Lima
- June 68: More than 70 people die in a gate stampede after a River Plate-Boca Juniors match in Buenos Aires
- Jan 71: 66 people killed in a crush after a Rangers-Celtic derby in Glasgow, Scotland
- Feb 74: 49 people trampled to death at a match in Cairo
- Oct 82: More than 300 reportedly killed in a stampede on a narrow, icy staircase at a Spartak-Haarlem match in Moscow
- May 85: 56 people die in a terrace fire during a Bradford City-Lincoln City match in Bradford, England
- May 85: 39 people are killed when a separation wall collapses at a Liverpool-Juventus European Champions Cup final at Heysel Stadium in Brussels
- March 88: 93 people die in a stampede after fleeing a hailstorm at the national stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal
- Apr 89: 96 people are crushed to death at a Liverpool-Nottingham Forest cup match in Sheffield
- Jan 91: At least 40 people die in a stampede after riots at a friendly match in Orkney, South Africa
- Oct 96: About 80 people are killed in a stampede before a Guatemala-Costa Rica World Cup qualifying match in Guatemala City
- Apr 01: More than 40 people killed in a crush at the overcrowded Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa
The Carbon Comrade
14th July 2004
I think Football to be seriously over-rated anyway, but to think 70+ people died simply because of rivalling teams. It's sickening really. Didn't some of the players get attacked too? I haven't read a whole lot on the article, only heard bits and pieces here and there...
SCHOFIELD DID 4/30
10th August 2004
Faktrl is Best Pony
10th September 2007
Serves 'em right. Whenever a football (or soccer :p) fanatic, because that's what they are, dies, I'm a happy guy. There's a special place in hell for all those mindless people who devote far too much of their lives and philosophy to sports.
Of course, I do feel bad for any innocent bystander who gets in the way.
"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.
7th December 2003
The same thing could easily have happened in Germany, where there are lots of cavemen disguised as soccer fans who would like to cause trouble. However, whenever there is a match between two clubs with radical fans there are huge amounts of police. Not just in the stadium but also on the likely approach routes of the teams.
29th January 2005
There are other factors at play here besides the sport factor. While sports are a hot topic in Egypt particular- ultras and hardcore fans are not a unique phenomenon to themselves. The clubs here, besides the usual tensions between themselves, there are problems they have with authorities. Like many other groups the fans came out into the streets too.
There has been some ugly things revealed from the fall of Mubarak with regards to the sport teams which before were just the worst kept secrets in the country. This being mainly that team management and coaches were usually connected to the regime in some way, while players were often celebrities favored by the state and given gifts. Games in Egypt like other places served as a useful distraction from issues on the streets.
When protests broke out, players of the teams, like many actors (who got kickbacks from the government like the players) remained silent and the team managements had tried to distract people. Many of these clubs have some roots in Egypt's past, the whole matter has always been very contested.
Red Menace;5607147Three players of al-Ahly, who's fans are thought by many to have been the offenders, retired in protest. The coach, who was attacked himself, is thinking of returning to Portugal.
It's hard to tell what was going on or whose fans were at fault, the main issue is how this got to its proportions, especially when these kinds of tensions are expected. I think of interest is his claim that the banner targeting al-Ahly was in English rather than Arabic- its intent for international media rather than domestic, which I think plays into the military government's strategy of tension in the Sinai (border problems with Israel and abductions of the Americans and Chinese) and elsewhere to continue justifying what it's doing. All these security lapses and the lack of security they would otherwise have in a match between two of the country's worse rivals is rather odd and would lend support to those who say the military had an interest in allowing this to happen. Especially since fans that later came out to protest afterwards targeted the SCAF and police, rather than blaming fans of the opposing team for 'starting' it.