Ultras fans vowed 'blood wars' to continue Egyptian revolution on football fields

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 4 Feb 2012

Last November, after football league threatened to cancel season, Ultras called president and media 'remnants' of Mubarak regime and promised to use more firecrackers to cleanse field of sports from 'counter-revolutionaries'

Zamalek Ultras

Egyptian Football Association (EFA) president Samir Zaher said the completion of the current premier league season is in doubt due to continued crowd disturbances.

In recent weeks, the EFA has punished several major football teams such as Zamalek and Ahly for fans' use of prohibited fireworks during games by ordering clubs to play some matches behind closed doors.

However, undettered by EFA crowd bans or fines on their clubs, fans continued to use firecrackers in every game, and some have even attempted to storm games that are played behind closed doors by EFA orders.

For example, some Zamalek supporters violated the crowd ban in their team's match against Ittihad El-Shorta on Tuesday by invading the Cairo Stadium and lighting fireworks. Clashes ensued between security forces and Zamalek supporters, with dozens arrested and some treated harshly by the police according to video footage published online.

Zamalek had been ordered to play Tuesday's match against Ittihad El-Shorta behind closed doors after fans lit firecrackers during earlier matches.

Last week, Ahly supporters also attempted to invade the Cairo Stadium during another behind-closed-doors match with Dakhleya, then withdrew to cheer their team from outside the compound in order to deliver a message to officials that they would not allow anyone to deprive them of their right to attend the matches.

Ahly supporters also threatened to attend their upcoming team's clash with Ismaily in the tournament’s postponed seventh match day despite another crowd ban.

On Monday night, during the team's 3-2 win over ENNPI, Ahly supporters lit numerous firecrackers and raised banners taunting Zaher and the EFA as remnants of the corrupt Mubarak regime, and also slammed media compliance in government crackdown on their right to cheer their beloved players.

“It is very difficult to continue playing amid these troubles,” Zaher told TV shows following Tuesday's clashes between Zamalek fans and the police.

“We tried to prevent riots, but supporters considered the punishments provocative,” Zaher said.

“What Zamalek supporters did (Tuesday) is a violation of all rules. Where is the security necessary to continue the league?” he added.

In response to the arrest of some of their colleagues on Tuesday, Ultras White Knights (UWK), Zamalek’s hardcore fans, slammed Zaher, various club presidents, interior ministry officials, and sports programme presenters.

“These people are remnants of the former regime. They will not determine our destiny,” UWK said in a statement they released on their official facebook page.

“We suffered a lot from injustice and repression in the past, but we stood up to that with pride. We fought with all our might to maintain our principles and freedom," the statement continued.

“We thought justice and freedom would come after our revolution. We will continue in our defence of freedom even with our blood. Our war with the EFA will continue until we win and see the corrupt people in prison,” the UWK added.

Since the ousting of the former president, Ultras fans have been locked in an ongoing battle with the ruling military council over its use of military trials against football fans arrested in various clashes that take place during football games.

According to the EFA official website, competitions committee head Amer Hussein is to meet with club representatives within the next few hours to discuss their proposals to end the troubles that have persisted since the league resumed in March.

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