Egyptians against suspension of league

Egyptians against suspension of league
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Published February 10th, 2015 - 14:00 GMT via

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Banning football league is no solution according to an eyewitness
Banning football league is no solution according to an eyewitness

By Renad Ghanem

Egyptians expressed reservations on the Cabinet's decision to indefinitely suspend the national soccer league after at least 22 fans were killed in a stampede and clashes with police outside a Cairo stadium, three years after Egypt witnessed one of the deadliest soccer riots in the sport's history.

"Banning football league is no solution," said Ahmed Osama, an Egyptian and eyewitness to what happened in front of the Air Defense stadium in an eastern Cairo suburb.

"The league must continue. They should punish the clubs and ban the hooligans because they are exploited for political interests," Osama, who lives in Fifth settlement, told Saudi Gazette on the phone from Cairo.

Laila Naggar, who just moved to Fifth settlement area three months ago, said the government should come with a tough decision to stop killings.

"Enough is enough," she said, but added that banning the football league again will be a loss to those who work and benefit from sport related business.

The Egyptian Cabinet announced the suspension late Sunday after riot police clashed with hundreds of soccer fans and fired tear gas to clear a narrow corridor leading to the Air Defense stadium in an eastern Cairo suburb, setting off a deadly stampede.

Egypt last suspended the league in 2012 after 74 fans were killed in rioting at a match in the Suez Canal city of Port Said.

That violence sparked widespread outrage at the police and the then-ruling transitional military council for not doing enough to stop the killings.

Fans have only recently been allowed back in stadiums, but authorities continue to limit the number who can attend.

Egypt's public prosecutor has ordered an investigation of the violence. Maha Wagdy, an Egyptian woman who lives in Rehab City close to Sunday night's clashes, said she was stuck on the blocked road in front of the stadium.

"I saw and I smelled the tear gas while I was waiting in my car to reach home. I saw many of Zamalek club fans around me. They were blocking the road."

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