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Blatter offers condolences following Zamalek tragedy
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has offered his condolences to the Egyptian football community following the tragedy prior to the Zamalek vs. ENPPI match on Sunday.
Clashes between Zamalek’s Ultras White Knights (UWK) supporters group and police forces caused the deaths of over 30 Zamalek fans. The clashes ensued when members of the UWK reportedly attempted to force their way into the stadium without tickets, which caused the police force to fire tear gas and create a panic-stampede.
The incident marked the return of football fans to the stands in Egypt for the first time since the Port Said disaster in 2012.
Blatter has sent a letter of condolence to Mohamed Gamal, the President of the Egyptian football Association (EFA). According to FIFA.com, he also offered support on behalf of FIFA in light of the tragedy:
“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the Egyptian football community for the tragic events that occurred at last night’s match in Cairo between Zamalek and ENPPI,” Blatter wrote.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with the families of all those who have lost their lives yesterday evening. It is so sad that a game of football, which should be the scene of joy and positive emotions, should be overshadowed in this way.
“We await the results of the investigation into this tragedy and are ready to provide the Egyptian Football Association with any support they may need in dealing with the aftermath of this event,” FIFA President Blatter concluded.
Football party at #AFCON2015 is tainted hearing very sad news from Egypt.
— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) February 8, 2015
Zamalek player Omar Gaber, who has had tensions with Zamalek’s board as cause of his close relationship with the UWK, boycotted the match when he heard of the clashes. Zamalek president Mortada Mansour reacted by terminating Gaber’s contract despite his recent contract renewal.
Ahly coach Juan Garrido was also saddened and offered his perspective on the incident.