African Cup

FIFA probes Egypt soccer disaster

saidFIFA has demanded a full report on the violence at the match in Egypt on Wednesday night that left more than 70 persons dead.
Al Masry fans invaded the pitch after a surprise 3-1 win over Cairo club, Al-Ahly, in Port Said Wednesday night, with reports saying as many as 79 peersons 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, the game’s world governing body, yesterday asked the Egyptian authorities to explain exactly what happened.

FIFA said in a statement: “FIFA has asked the Egyptian authorities for a full report on the incident in order to evaluate what happened.’’
In 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 suggested some Al-Ahly fans suffocated, trapped in a narrow corridor as they fled the violence.
Al-Ahly coach, Manuel Jose, spoke of his sense of helplessness after watching his club’s fans die in front of him. Jose himself was among those who were attacked.

“I was hit and kicked on neck, head and feet,” said the Portuguese boss, 65, who has also coached Sporting Lisbon, Benfica and Braga in a career spanning more than 30 years.
Jose was eventually taken to his side’s dressing room.
“There, I saw our fans die before us and we are unable to do anything,” he told
“Nothing happened to any of the players but we feel overwhelming sadness and the return flight was made in silence, full of respect for the lives of our fans who died.”

Barny said there was very little security to prevent home fans bent on violence.
“What happened was an unspeakable catastrophe,” he said.
“From the beginning of the game, the fans of the opposing team 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.” Al-Ahly announced Jose was returning to Portugal because he was “going through a bad psychological situation”.

Jose added: “I have to think about my life differently now. “Although, everybody loves me greatly, this experience has changed my life completely.” A minute’s silence will be held before this weekend’s quarter-final matches at the African Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

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