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FIFA to step in to reinstate Egypt’s FA, says Blatter

World soccer body rejects 'government intervention' in Egyptian football affairs following sacking of EFA board after Port Said tragedy

Reuters, Sunday 5 Feb 2012
Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during a news conference at the end of the extraordinary congress of the CONMEBOL in Luque, near Asuncion, February 5, 2012. FIFA will take steps to reinstate Egypt's Football Association (EFA), suspended by Cairo after 74 people died in violence at a match in Port Said, Blatter said. (Photo: REUTERS)
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FIFA will take steps to reinstate Egypt’s Football Association (EFA), suspended by Cairo after 74 people died in violence at a match in Port Said, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter said on Sunday.

Blatter, attending an extraordinary congress of the South American Football Confederation at its Paraguay headquarters, said the EFA’s suspension after Wednesday’s violence was direct interference in soccer affairs that FIFA could not accept.

“The information we have received at FIFA confirms the number of dead as 74. It was also confirmed that the [Egyptian] government intervened directly by suspending the [country’s] football association,” Blatter told a news conference.

“We are going to take up the case from tomorrow [Monday] so that this association is reinstated because it is the [body] that has the responsibility to organise the competitions and it must carry on [its work],” the president of world soccer’s governing body said.

The incident, when fans invaded the pitch in Port Said after home team El-Masry beat Cairo giants Ahly, was Egypt’s worst soccer disaster after which Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri sacked the EFA board.

It was also the incident with the highest number of casualties in Egypt since an uprising brought down the government of former president Hosni Mubarak early last year. Most of the deaths occurred when people were trampled in the crush of the panicking crowd.

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