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Ultras Ahlawy to attend league opener despite crowd ban
Ultras Ahlawy announced that they would attend Al Ahly’s match against Tala’a El-Geish on Thursday, defying a crowd ban imposed by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA).
Despite the EFA’s decision to hold football games behind closed doors since the Air Defence disaster, the die-hard supporters said in a statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday that they would be present in the stands during Al Ahly’s Egyptian Premier League opener.
The group stressed on the importance of fan attendance to football, using the Egyptian Super Cup that was held in the UAE and drew a huge crowd as an example.
“Starting the new league without fans is a continuation to the killing of football in Egypt…and that’s why Ultras Ahlawy group in Cairo and all the governorates will gather on Thursday to attend Al Ahly’s first game in the league against Tala’a El-Geish,” the statement read.
They added that Al Ahly fans attended the team’s training sessions several times without causing any problems; they were also present in one of the team’s official games.
“Al Ahly fans attended Orlando Pirates’ match in the CAF Confederation Cup, and despite Al Ahly’s defeat, the game passed peacefully,” the statement read.
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) board member Mahmoud El-Shamy said on Monday that they would try to allow fans in the stadiums again after the parliamentary elections.
“We hope the Minister of Youth and Sports coordinates with the Ministry of Interior to allow for fans to return to stadiums once again,” El-Shamy said.
“Saying that it’ll be hard for the fans to attend matches because of the elections is strange…and if the officials are busy with the elections…there’s no problem, they can leave football for the fans, who are willing to attend and organise themselves with the help of Al Ahly’s security,” Ultras Ahlawy said in their Wednesday’s statement.
The group explained that the fans suggested many ideas to secure the games, including hiring private security companies or letting the fans bear the responsibility of securing the matches with the help of Al Ahly security staff.
The statement stressed that football fans want to return to the stadiums, which they described as their “ordinary place”.
“Football is for the fans,” the statement concluded.