Scores killed as Egyptian football fans riot

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

At least 74 people killed in catastrophic scenes as supporters storm pitch after victory by local team

Cairo

At least 74 people were killed and hundreds more injured last night when a top-flight football match ended in one of the worst sporting disasters in Egypt's history.

Catastrophic scenes broke out at a stadium in the eastern city of Port Said when the local team scored a rare victory over Al-Ahli, one of Egypt's most successful clubs. Following the final whistle, hundreds of fans stormed on to the pitch in frenzied celebration. Supporters of the local Port Said club, Al-Masry, chased Al-Ahli's players into their dressing room tunnel, while others threw stones and let off fireworks at the visiting supporters.

One of Al-Ahli's players, Mohamed Aboutreika, rang the team's own television channel to describe the violence as it unfolded. He said Masry supporters invaded the pitch after the referee had blown his whistle, despite their team winning 3-1.

"This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us. There is no security and no ambulances," he said. "I call for the Premier League to be cancelled. This is horrible situation and today can never be forgotten."

As the clashes intensified, more members of the Al-Ahli squad called into the TV channel from their dressing room to describe what was happening. "The security forces left us, they did not protect us. One fan has just died in the dressing room in front of me," said Mohamed Aboutreika during one phone call.

"People have died; we are seeing corpses now. There are no security forces or army personnel to protect us," added the attacking midfielder Mohamed Barakat. "It is our fault because we played that match. The authorities are afraid to cancel the league because they just care about money – they do not care about the lives of people."

Last night it was not immediately clear how so many fans were killed, but the manager of Port Said's el-Amiri hospital said some had died in a stampede while others suffocated.

An employee at a Port Said morgue told the Associated Press that security officers were among the dead. According to Hesham Sheiha, deputy health minister, most of the injuries were caused by concussions and deep cuts.

Anger was growing last night about the enormous loss of life. The Interior Ministry said last night that 47 people had been arrested, while politicians blamed the lack of security during the game and accused the nation's leaders of allowing the tragedy to happen.

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

The chairman of the Egyptian Football Association, Samir Zaher, announced that the nation's Premier League had been postponed as a result of the deadly clashes.

Since the revolution there have been a number of flare-ups at football matches in Egypt, some of which have been attributed to the lack of police officers in the wake of last year's uprising.

Following the outbreak of violence in Port Said, another football match in Cairo between Al-Ismailia and Zamalek was cancelled as a mark of respect.

Images on state television showed parts of the Cairo stadium on fire, with the presenter saying that angry Zamalek fans had torched the stands in protest at the cancellation. As a result of last night's violence, two clubs from the port city of Alexandria said they were withdrawing from the Premier League.

* Fury at army and police over Egypt soccer riot deaths

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss