The group of Ahly’s hardcore supporters call for “revolution against football corruption”
Hatem Maher, Wednesday 5 Sep 2012Ahly’s die-hard fans (Ultras Ahlawy) have listed six demands that they said should be fulfilled or otherwise “matters will be worse” after attacking the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) headquarters on Wednesday.
The group, incensed by what they perceive the Egyptian authorities’ reluctance to punish the culprits of February’s Port Said disaster, hurled firecrackers at the EFA building in Al-Gezira district, Cairo, before invading it.
They also stole some trophies as their dispute with authorities over their handling of the Port Said notorious saga turned violent.
Ultras Ahlawy have vowed not to allow the EFA to resume domestic football activities unless “justice is done”.
A number of Masry fans and security officials are currently facing trial on charges of premeditated murder and negligence respectively over the crowd riots which left over 70 dead.
“We remained silent for seven months, during which we were committed to peaceful ways to ask for the rights of 74 martyrs who died in the world’s worst football tragedy,” Ultras Ahlawy said in a statement on their Facebook page.
“Now, after seven months, we call on everybody to revolt against the football system before action is resumed. We also call on the fellow Ultras groups to reunite and support us in our demands.”
The EFA went ahead with plans to start the league, Egypt’s premier domestic competition that was cancelled last season in the wake of the Port Said disaster, after holding the draw for the 2012-2013 season on Wednesday morning.
The association’s spokesman Azmy Megahed, speaking to reporters after the draw, incurred the wrath of Ultras Ahlawy after saying: “My message to those who oppose the league resumption is: if you can do anything to stop it, just do it.”
The ardent supporters retaliated few hours later. The interior ministry said it would punish the assailants but no one has been arrested so far.
Ultras Ahlawy listed six demands that they believe should be realised to dispense with some influential football figures in the Hosni Mubarak era and hold some parties accountable for the Port Said tragedy.
“1-The withdrawal of Hani Abou-Reida and his comrades from the upcoming EFA elections,” they said, referring to a former member of the dismantled National Democratic Party (NDP) who is seeking to become the new association’s chairman.
“2- The resignation of the entire Ahly board of directors following their complicity with the EFA (in the Port Said saga). 3- The resignation of the EFA board of directors following their complicity in the case of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“4- No football resumption without fans. 5- The interior ministry must not be in charge of security at football games. 6- Cleansing media from the figures who sow sedition between fans,” the statement added.
Ultras Ahlawy were enraged after CAS overturned a two-year ban handed out to Port Said club Masry by the EFA.
The swift decision to annul the sanction was apparently down to the absence of an EFA representative at the hearing CAS held to look into the case, fuelling the Ahly fans’ suspicions of complicity.
The EFA said the first half of the league season will be played behind closed doors at military-owned stadiums due to lingering security concerns in Egypt.
“What we did today was the start of an end to sports corruption. Matters will be worse if our demands are not fulfilled,” the statement added in an explicit threat.
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