Ahly game delayed as crowd of fans prevents bus from moving to stadium
Omar Zaazou, Thursday 17 Dec 2015

The Egyptian League game between Ahly and Smouha has been delayed for two hours after its initial time of 19:45 Cairo time due to the late arrival of the Ahly players after a group of fans gathered to prevent the team's bus from reaching Petrosport Stadium.

Some players managed to reach the stadium, while skipper Hossam Ghaly, keeper Sherif Ekramy and manager Jose Peseiro were stranded at the hotel for over an hour.

The players – who left through the hotel backdoor – had to go to the stadium with their private cars while others were forced to rent cabs, causing the Ahly contingent to fail to reach the stadium on time.

The match is set to start at 21:45 CLT, with the remaining members of the Ahly contingent reaching the stadium about half an hour before start time.

The ongoing ban in Egypt on audiences attending football games is believed to be the reason behind the anger of the Ahly crowd.

The Ultras Ahlawy fan firm issued a statement on their Facebook page saying that there is no reason the audience should continue, while implying they are going to take action ahead of the Smouha game.

"Ahead of the start of the league, we made a decision to attend the opening game against Talae El-Geish since there are no reasons whatsoever to continue playing behind closed doors," the Ultras said.

"Following the match, officials promised the return of football fans [attending games] 50 days after the parliamentary elections, which means fans should be allowed to attend the games now.But we were surprised to see that the decision to bring the fans back to the stands was delayed once again without a clear reason.

"Now everyone will lament the loss of the three points [in the Smouha match], though no one ever talked about the loss of all titles last season due to the absence of fans."

Domestic games have all been played behind closed doors since the deadly Port Said Stadium disaster that claimed the lives of some 74 Ahly fans in 2012.

Though the ban was to be lifted earlier this year, a stampede at the Air Defense Stadium killed nearly 20 Zamalek fans.

Officials announced in November that fans would return to the stands with the beginning of the second half of the season, only to later backtrack on the decision.

(For more sports news andupdates, followAhramOnlineSportson Twitter at@AO_Sportsand onFacebookatAhramOnlineSports.)