Ultras Ahlawy challenges EFA with fireworks, controversial banner

Hatem Maher, Saturday 15 Oct 2011

Ahly’s hard-core supporters may reignite tensions with security forces and end up slapping Ahly with a fine after the excessive use of fireworks on Friday

Ultras Ahlawy
"“You will not teach us how to support our team," Ultras Ahlawy said

Ahly’s hard-core fans (Ultras Ahlawy) sent a strong message that they will continue using Ultras Ahlawy support tactics for their team during an Egyptian Premier League game on Friday.

The Cairo giants already had to face Haras El-Hodoud in their league opener away from home as a sanction imposed by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) in the wake of crowd troubles during a low-key Egypt Cup game last month.

Scuffles between fans and security forces made headlines for several days.

Policemen were heavily criticised by local media for their heavy-handedness and the fans were equally vilified for alleged rioting, which landed them the punishment.

Ahly’s game against El-Hodoud was switched to Alexandria as a result, but the Red Devils were hardly destroyed, given the huge support they found in the Mediterranean city.

Ultras Ahlawy flooded the small stadium, chanting their famous songs and creating a feverish atmosphere.

Ahly, who gave a lacklustre performance, ended the resistance of a defensive-minded El-Hodoud side when striker Emad Meteb headed home in the 66th minute to send the fans into ecstasy.

The enthusiastic supporters lit many firecrackers in celebration before unfurling a rather antagonistic banner that read: “You will not teach us how to support our team.”

“This message is primarily directed to the Egyptian Football Association,” Ultras Ahlawy said on its Facebook page, which includes 233,000 users.

“It is also directed to anyone who believes he can turn football stadiums into prisons under his control. We own the stadiums, we own the stands.”

The EFA, which said more than once it would clamp down on any disorder in the new season, is likely to punish Ahly for the excessive use of fireworks.

According to the newly-enforced regulations, a club whose fans use fireworks will be fined, initially, LE20,000. A repeat of that violation will result in a home-match ban.

Ahly did not comment on the behaviour of their fans during El-Hodoud game, but football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz lavished praise on them for their “huge support.”

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