Egypt league to resume March 30 after stampede

Egypt league to resume March 30 after stampede

Egypt`s cabinet said Wednesday the country`s top-flight football league will resume behind closed doors on March 30 after being suspended last month following a stampede that left 19 fans dead.

The decision comes a day after the state prosecutor blamed the Islamist opposition for the violence and referred to trial 16 suspects accused over clashes that triggered the stampede.

On February 8, police had fired tear gas and birdshot at fans trying to force their way into the stadium to attend a match between Zamalek and Enppi, leading to the deadly crush.

It was one of the first premier league games open to the public since 2012.

In its announcement on Wednesday, the cabinet said that the competition would resume on March 30 but without any fans in attendance.

The prosecution on Tuesday accused the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood of financing hardcore Zamalek supporters called Ultras White Knights to "spread chaos and suspend (football) activity".

Sixteen suspects, 12 of whom are in custody, are to stand trial on several charges including murder, thuggery and vandalism.

February`s violence was the deadliest related to sports in Egypt since 2012 stadium clashes that killed more than 70 people at the end of football match in the canal city of Port Said.

Hard-core football fans in Egypt have often been involved in clashes with police, including in political unrest that has seen two presidents toppled in four years.

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