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Masry and Ahly sanctions according to FIFA rules, says EFA president

EFA president confirms the penalties imposed by the Egyptian association after Port Said disaster are related to the football governing body

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 24 Mar 2012
Anwar Saleh
EFA new president Anwar Saleh (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian Football Association (EFA) interim head, Anwar Saleh, defends the sanctions the football body imposed on both Masry and Ahly, saying it abides by FIFA rules.

Earlier on Friday Egypt’s football association banned Masry for two seasons and closed the Port Said stadium for three years, where 74 died from attacks on Ahly fans on 1 February. Allegedly, Port Said team's fans rushed the field in their home game to attack Ahly fans. However, there is some suspicion that the aggressors were not, in fact, Masry football fans, but rather hired thugs.

The announcement of the sanctions sparked the anger of both Ahly and Masry fans.

Port Said fans protest being the whipping boy for something they claim they didn't do, and closing the stadium for three years drastically hampers football in town. Masry fans were so angered that clashes erupted in Port Said between fans and army forces in the early hours Saturday. Reportedly a 13-year-old boy died in the clashes and dozens have been injured.

“The sanctions imposed on Masry are in accordance with EFA rules and FIFA regulations,” Saleh told Ahram Online's sport section.

The Red Devils (Ahly) were punished by exculsion of the public from their next four matches and suspension of their Portuguese coach, Manuel Jose from four matches. Midfielder Hossam Ghaly was also given a four-match ban and fined LE5,000 after remonstrating with the referee a few minutes before the disaster.

“It is normal that the other side, Ahly, was also punished, since the referee’s report already puts them in the wrong,” added Saleh.

The EFA decisions did not go down well with Ultras Ahlawy (the hardcore supporters), many of whom marched to EFA headquarters in Cairo’s Al-Jazeera district immediately following the announcement.

Ultras Ahlawy also issued a strongly-worded statement, threatening to retaliate if “justice is not served."

The group also said they will begin a sit-in in front of the EFA headquarters on Sunday.

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