Ultras Ahlawy, a group of Ahly’s hardcore supporters, said they plan to attend the Egyptian Premier League clash against Ismaily despite a crowd ban, threatening to escalate a row with authorities.
Ahly were ordered to host bitter foes Ismaily behind closed doors after their fans lit firecrackers during two successive games, defying a warning from the Egyptian Football Association (EFA).
The Red Devils had already served the first of a two-match crowd ban during their 3-1 victory over promoted Dakhleya on Wednesday, although the chants of fans standing outside Cairo Stadium were clearly heard.
“We said two days ago we will not be present at the Dakhleya match. We took that decision to guarantee the interests of our club would not be harmed,” Ultras Ahlawy said on their Facebook page.
“However, we also wanted to send a message to the remnants of the former regime that we would not allow them to deprive us of our right to attend the matches.
“We hereby officially announce that we will be present at the Ismaily match (on 18 November). Glory for the free people.”
According to the EFA regulations, a team which does not abide by a crowd ban will be deducted points.
EFA chairman Samir Zaher has recently held a meeting with interior minister Mansour El-Essawy to settle on possible measures to ease tensions, which have grown notably between die-hard fans and police following January’s revolution.
The interior ministry vowed to tighten security for the upcoming games while the EFA called on clubs and media to do their best to convince the fans to abandon the use of fireworks.
Supporters say the use of pyrotechnics is necessary to create a feverish atmosphere inside stadiums while the EFA, which pledged to clamp down on disorder this season, says it threatens the safety of all parties.
Clashes between the fans and police, and crowd troubles, including unprecedented pitch invasions, have been consistent since the resumption of football activities back in March.
Zamalek, Ismaily and Masry were also ordered to play behind closed doors for similar reasons.
“Ultras Ahlawy call on the fans of other clubs to stand firm and stick to our right to be free in the stands,” they added.