Updated: Ismaily fans storm stadium in Egyptian league game despite crowd ban

Hatem Maher, Saturday 28 Jan 2012

In a sign of protest against the Egyptian Football Association, Ismaily fans storm the stadium during their league game against Masry despite a crowd ban

Ismaily fans
Ismaily fans storm the stadium in league game against Masry

Around 1,000 Ismaily die-hard supporters invaded Ismailia stadium during the team’s Egyptian Premier League match at home to Masry immediately after kick-off on Saturday.

The match was supposed to be played behind closed doors after the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) sanctioned Ismaily due to crowd troubles which marred their game against Ittihad El-Shorta earlier this month.

In Saturday’s match against rivals Masry, in what is dubbed as the Suez Canal derby, the referee had to stop the game immediately after kick-off when the fans suddenly rushed to the stands. Reports suggested that a policeman was consequently injured.

The supporters abruptly left the stadium after 10 minutes, as the referee resumed the game.

EFA regulations stipulate that a behind-closed-doors match should be cancelled if the fans storm the stadium and decline to leave within 20 minutes.  

Ismaily’s hardcore supporters (Ultras) followed in the footsteps of their Zamalek counterparts, who briefly interrupted a league game against El-Shorta back in November despite a crowd ban in a copycat incident.

Zamalek fans also bizarrely forced the referee to stop their match against ENPPI on Friday when they threw dozens of balls onto the pitch after two minutes.

The EFA’s relationship with football fans has been tense since the January revolution overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Many supporters called on authorities to disband the current EFA board, which is headed by Samir Zaher, as they accused them of being part of a corrupt regime.

The only major change in Egyptian sports since the revolution has been the appointment of Emad El-Bannan as the new head of the National Sports Council (NSC) instead of Hassan Saqr.

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