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Zamalek draw in Egyptian league as match goes ahead despite fan deaths

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Feb 2015
File photo: Zamalek slumped to a 2-0 defeat by ENPPI in their Egyptian Premier League meeting in December (Photo: Al-Ahram)

An Egyptian Premier League game between Zamalek and ENPPI went ahead on Sunday despite the death of at least 30 Zamalek fans after they were tear-gassed by police prior to kick-off.

They played out a 1-1 draw after Zamalek's hardcore fans clashed with the police before the match in the worst football-related incident since the infamous Port Said disaster three years ago.

Police used tear gas to disperse members of the Ultras White Knights in front of Cairo's Air Defence Stadium, an army-owned venue, minutes before Zamalek played ENPPI in a top-of-the-table clash.

"They died of suffocation and stampede after being tear-gassed," a medical source at the Ahli Bank Hospital said.

The Egyptian interior ministry said the clashes occurred after Ultras White Knights members tried to attend the game without buying tickets.

Ultras White Knights disputed the ministry's account, saying they were tear-gassed as many fans scrambled to get in, with a "tiny metal fence surrounded by barbed wire being the only gate opened for us."

A league crowd ban that has been in place since the 2012 Port Said tragedy, which left over 70 Ahly fans dead, was partially lifted as authorities said they would gradually allow fans to return to the stands.

Zamalek remained at the top of the league table with 45 points, three clear of second-placed ENPPI.

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