Egyptian club suspended for two seasons

Riots in Port Said after Al-Masry banned

March 24, 2012
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Clashes in Port Said have left one person dead after the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) banned local club Al-Masry for two seasons and closed their stadium in the wake of February's deadly riot at the ground.

Al-Masry stadium Port Said after diaster
GettyImagesPort Said Stadium was the scene of February's ugly riots, the worst Egypt have ever seen

The Port Said Stadium was the site of ugly scenes last month when home supporters invaded the pitch during a league match against Al Ahly, with 74 fans killed and more than 1,000 injured.

Al-Masry have now been suspended by the EFA until the 2013-14 season, while their stadium will be closed for three years.

The announcement of the decision was met with angry protests in Port Said, as Al-Masry fans blocked roads and burned tires near the Suez Canal, resulting in the closure of the city's harbour on Saturday morning.

Police responded by releasing teargas and allegedly also firing guns, with one protestor shot in the back and dozens injured, mainly due to teargas inhalation.

"Hundreds of angry fans clashed with military police after the decision was announced," one witness said, while a medical source revealed: "One was shot dead, in the back, and 18 were injured in the clashes, two of them are suffering gunshot wounds."

Seventy-five people, including nine security officials in Port Said were referred to the criminal court on March 15 for their role in February's pitch invasion.

The 2011-12 Egyptian Premier League season was cancelled earlier this month and it was revealed that a new cup competition would be played, with the proceeds of all games going towards the families of the victims who died at the Port Said Stadium tragedy.

However, the proposed tournament now too appears in doubt, with EFA spokesman Azmy Megahed revealing earlier this week that the traditional Egypt Cup may be the only domestic football played this season.

"The association is studying cancelling the tournament and applying a new system for the [Egypt] Cup that would allow all clubs to compensate for their losses," Megahed said.