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
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn