Football fans’ riots may cost clubs league points, too

Eslam Omar, Sunday 22 May 2011

After a warning from the interior minister to shut down the games, the Egyptian Football Assoc threatens to punish league clubs for hooliganism by deducting points


The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) executive manager Ehab Saleh revealed Sunday that they intend to deduct points if any of the fans of any league club riot.

“The EFA received a warning letter from the interior ministry following the latest riots by fans," Saleh told Egyptian radio.

The interior ministry issued a stern warning on Saturday, saying it could cancel the domestic competition this season if troubles continue in the stands. It referred specifically to the continued use of fireworks.

Egyptian stadiums have witnessed many unpleasant scenes recently, ranging from a firecracker that hit the arm of a Zambian player during Ahly’s Champions League game against ZESCO United, to the ugly pitch invasion by Zamalek supporters during an ill-tempered clash against Tunisian Club Africain.

Cairo giants Ahly and Zamalek are constantly fined either by the EFA or the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for their fans’ behaviour. CAF ordered Zamalek to play two matches behind closed doors, while Ahly will also have to play a continental game without their spectators.

Recent reports suggested that the Cairo derby, which is scheduled to take place on 29 June, could be switched to Kuwait to avoid expected fan trouble.

“[Playing the match in Kuwait] is not a possibility: we are just considering postponing the game until the end of the season,” Saleh added.

Anti-police chants 

Egyptian League matches featured abusive banners and chants, not only against the opposing teams but also against the interior minister and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which runs the country following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

The political chants were hardly present before the revolution but became prominent after Ultras Ahlawy and Ultras White Knights, the ardent groups supporting Ahly and Zamalek, took part in the 18-day demonstrations against the governments.

Some of them were arrested either by police or SCAF. A huge competition of political chants between the bitter foes was noticed during this week’s round.

“We haven’t forgotten Tahrir, you police bastards, when we taught you an unforgettable lesson,” Zamalek fans sang during their team’s 3-2 league win over Arab Contractors on Saturday.

The Red Devils supporters had their fair share in the protests, singing an anti-police song during the 2-2 draw with El-Entag El-Harby.

 “You unwelcomed crow, you weren’t smart in school and you became an officer by bribery. Why do you spoil our joy? We will never obey you,” they chanted enthusiastically.

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