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At least 20 Zamalek fans killed after confrontation with police
In the first week of the return of fans to the stadiums in the Egyptian Premier League since the Port Said disaster, another tragedy was witnessed as at least 20 Zamalek fans were killed in a confrontation with police.
In what was supposed to be the beginning of the return of crowds to the football games in Egypt since the infamous Port Said disaster back in 2012, another tragedy struck as 20 of the Zamalek hardcore group of fans ‘Ultras White Knights (UWK)’ died before the start of the Zamalek-ENPPI match.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, the situation started deteriorating allegedly after some fans tried to get in the stadium without tickets, which led to the police forces tear-gassing the fans creating a panic-stampede. The death toll is understood to be at least 20 until now.
The official Facebook page of the UWK have posted many photos of the victims. The group also refuted the MOI’s version of the events as they said that they were tear-gassed while trying to enter the stadium through the narrow gate that was put at their disposal.
Ahmed Mansour, who is the son of current Zamalek president Mortada Mansour, came out with a statement against the fans earlier today on his Facebook page: “You do not understand anything. You are not allowed to get in by force. No one will be allowed to attend the match without tickets. Football is only for respectable fans. No thugs are allowed here.”
The game went ahead despite of the incident. However, Omar Gaber who has a close relationship with the Zamalek Ultras, refused to play the game out of respect for the victims. The player was quickly suspended indefinitely by the club’s board.
League suspended once again
The council of ministers officially suspended the league indefinitely after a meeting later on Sunday.
Egyptian council of ministers spokesman Hossam Qawish stated that the council held a meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim before recommending the EFA to suspend the league.
“We send our condolence to the families of the victims and promise to open investigation into the accident,” said Qawish.