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Ahly striker supports a fan sentenced to death in Port Said case

A man convicted in the Port Said football disaster says he is an Ahly fan, an assertion supported by striker Emad Meteb who vowed to stand by him

Hatem Maher, Wednesday 27 Feb 2013
Port Said stadium
A shoe is seen inside the goal net one day after soccer supporters clashed at the Port Said stadium February 2, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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Ahly striker Emad Meteb said on Wednesday he would stand by a man who was among those convicted of killing Ahly fans in the Port Said stadium disaster, whose family claim he is an Ahly supporter.

Twenty-one people, mostly local fans of Port Said-based club Masry, were sentenced to death after being convicted of killing Ahly fans following an ill-tempered Egyptian Premier League match on 1 February, 2012.

Local reports suggested that one of them was actually an Ahly fan and that he was mistakenly captured in the melee.

"I'm ready to testify and support that man. According to my dealings with him, he is an Ahly supporter," Meteb said on the club's official website.

"During the massacre, some Ahly fans rushed to the dressing room to ask the players for help. This man came to me and asked for help.

"After the investigations were carried out, this man came to me again and tried to remind me of the incident so that I could confirm that he is an Ahly supporter. He asked me to testify and I welcomed that.

"However, the matter calmed afterwards until the court delivered its verdict, after which his family informed me that he is one of those convicted. If the court asked me to testify, I will," he added.

Egypt's worst-ever football tragedy sent shockwaves through the country and ignited animosity between the supporters of Ahly and Masry, who are traditionally bitter foes in Egyptian football.

Ahly's hardcore football fans were partly satisfied with the January verdict but are still anticipating another decisive ruling on 9 March, when 52 suspects will learn their fate.
The defendants include nine security personnel and three Masry club officials.

Ahly's supporters accused the interior ministry of complicity in the disaster to punish them for their role in the 2011 uprising which unseated autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.
Masry's fans were enraged following the verdict sentencing 21 of their fans to death, embarking on a rampage that left more than 40 people dead in Port Said.
 

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