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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Families of Port Said victims skip meeting with Ahly’s board

Families of Port Said victims decline to attend Sunday’s meeting with Ahly’s beleaguered board of directors

Hatem Maher, Sunday 15 Jul 2012
Port Said disaster
File photo from the Port-Said stadium deadly football violence in February (Photo: Reuters)
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In a move that will probably heap more pressure on Ahly’s under-fire board of directors, the families of Port Said victims skipped a meeting on Sunday that aimed at easing tensions between the club and their fans.

Ahly’s group of hardcore supporters (Ultras Ahlawy) made no secret of their resentment at what they perceive the board’s reluctance to pressure Egyptian authorities into punishing the culprits of Egypt’s worst-ever football tragedy.

A pitch invasion by Masry’s fans following the end of an Egyptian Premier League game against Ahly last February left dozens dead and hundreds injured in a disaster that forced an indefinite suspension of all domestic football activities.

“The families of the Port Said martyrs decline to attend today’s meeting with Ahly’s board, maintaining the stance they share with the ultras against all those who drooped,” Ultras Ahlawy said in a brief statement on its Facebook page.

Around 20 members of Ultras Ahlawy stormed the stadium where Ahly held their training session on Thursday, holding aloft banners that heavily criticized the board and the players.

The incident drew condemnation from the board, which issued a strongly-worded statement to defend its position in the notorious Port Said case.

The board members were scheduled to sit down with the victims’ families on Sunday to inform them of the measures the club took to preserve their rights. However, their failure to show up could land the board into hot water.

Fearing a backlash from their angry supporters, Ahly had to cancel a couple of low-key friendly games recently.

The club have had to play their home African Champions League fixtures behind closed doors since the Port Said disaster, which prompted Egyptian authorities to enforce a crowd ban.

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