In Egypt, football fans politicise sports

Updated: Oct 22, 2012, 08:28 AM IST

Cairo: Rowdy Football fans clashed outside a stadium in the Egyptian capital on Sunday bringing traffic to a halt as a domestic tournament resumed months after a bloody clash left 70 people dead.

Traffic in Cairo`s eastern area of Heliopolis came to a halt after clashes took place this evening.

Security forces had increased their presence at the Baron Hotel where the Nigerian team Sunshine was staying to play a game in the evening with the Al-Ahly club in the Egyptian Football Association game.

The game went ahead as planned while the clashes took place on a highway leading from the airport to the city centre.

Domestic football play was almost entirely suspended since a bloody incident at a match in Port Said earlier this year left more than seventy Ahly fans dead.

The hardcore fans of the club known as Ultras have vowed to continue to disrupt local football games and prevent the resumption of the league.

The ultras demand that a verdict be issued for the 75 people being tried in criminal court over that incident before domestic games resume.

The Ahly supporters however did not oppose the Sunshine-Ahly match, which is continental and thus not associated with the domestic league.

The domestic football association workers attempted to obstruct the game in an attempt to draw attention to their own plight and in doing so drew a reaction from the devoted Ahly supporters.

The Facebook page for the Ultras had called on members to go to the hotel to enable Sunshine players to travel to the stadium, and reported that police had fired live ammunition into the air at the demonstration.

Only one Egyptian Football Association game has been played this year due to delay from ultras protests.