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Ahly plan FIFA, CAS appeal over Port Said sanctions

Ahly's board reacts angrily to Egyptian FA sanctions over Port Said violence, points finger of blame at rivals Masry

Eslam Omar, Tuesday 27 Mar 2012
Port said
The Port said tragedy left 74 fans killed and hundreds injured (Photo: Ahram)

Ahly’s board announced on Tuesday afternoon its rejection of penalties levelled last Friday by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) against Masry and Ahly for their perceived roles in last month’s Port Said football disaster.

Ahly went on to say that it planned to “boycott the EFA’s interim board,” asserting that they “don’t recognise it.”

On 1 February, more than 70 supporters of Cairo-based club Ahly were killed in Port Said stadium during violent clashes the likes of which had never before been seen on an Egyptian pitch. FIFA President Sepp Blatter described the incident as “a black day in world football.”

While investigations into the disaster were still ongoing and all football activity was suspended, the EFA’s former board, under Chairman Samir Zaher, had no choice but to resign. A new board has since been appointed under the helm of Anwar Saleh.

After weeks of discussion, Saleh cancelled all league activity and friendly tournaments leaving the Egypt Cup competition in doubt. Ahly and Masry, meanwhile, were slapped with sanctions for their alleged roles in the Port Said tragedy.

The coastal club’s angry fans tried to storm several administrative buildings when the team was banned from playing in the Premier League for two seasons. The Reds, meanwhile, will be expected to play four matches behind closed doors next season and manager Manuel Jose and a handful of players were hit with financial penalties.

“These sanctions contradict the international regulations laid down by FIFA and EFA and were mostly politicized,” Ahly director Mahmoud Allam said Tuesday at a press conference held at the club’s headquarters.

He went on to cite several reasons for their decision to boycott the EFA’s caretaker board and to “raise legal cases against them locally and internationally.” The board announced that it had given the green light to its Swiss attorney ‪Gianpaolo Monteneri‬ to refer the case to FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

The Red Devils, meanwhile, explicitly condemned the Port Said-based club, pointing to “evidence of the involvement of Masry, their fans and the referees” in what they described as “pre-planned violence.”

The statement, published on the club’s official website, insisted that they would adhere to the earlier decision “not to play in Port Said for five years,” adding that the club would “never stop pushing for the rights of the martyrs.”

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