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No police in Egypt football stadiums next season: Interior ministry

Interior ministry responds quickly to ultras' demands for private firms to secure Egyptian football matches

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 11 Mar 2014
Ultras
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The interior ministry will not be responsible for securing Egyptian football matches from new season.

In a joint Facebook statement on Monday, the hardcore fans of Egyptian clubs announced they would protest outside their clubs to demand security forces are banned from stadiums.

"It's either us or interior ministry forces in stadiums," the ultras statement said, suggesting the task of securing games should be handed to private companies.

In a quick response, interior ministry spokesperson Hany Abdel-Latif announced the ministry's assent to the ultras' request.

"The interior ministry has the same vision as the ultras groups. We support their demand," Abdel-Latif said in a radio statement late on Monday.

"This season will be completed behind closed doors and starting from next season the securing of football matches will be handed to private companies.

"Security forces will be only concerned with safety outside the stadiums. But they will have the right to intervene at any time if violations occur," he concluded.

The relationship between ultras and security forces suffered another setback when Ultras Ahlawy and Zamalek's Ultras White Knights fought security forces late last month.

The incidents prompted the Egyptian Football Association to announce Ahly and Zamalek would play the remainder of their Champions League campaign behind closed doors.

The ultras, however, are unlikely to welcome such a decision as they remain firm on their intention to attend matches.

The attendance of fans at games has been a critical bone of contention in Egypt since the Port Said tragedy in February 2012.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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