Home » Football History » They went to a match and never came back (Part Sixteen)

They went to a match and never came back (Part Sixteen)

Continuing the series that looks at those thankfully rare times in football history when fans went to a football match but never made it home afterwards.

(For Part One click here; Part Two here; Part Three here; Part Four here; Part Five here; Part Six here; Part Seven here;  Part Eight here; Part Nine here; Part Ten here, Part Eleven here, Part Twelve here; Part Thirteen here, Part Fourteen here; and Part Fifteen here).

Egypt is sadly no stranger to football disasters.

In 1999, 11 fans died in a stampede at the Alexandria Stadium in the north of the country, whilst, 16 years later, 20 supporters perished during a derby match between two Cairo clubs Zamalek and ENPP.

The circumstances and causes of that incident had direct parallels between the worst sporting disaster in the history of the country, which occurred in February 2012.

Port Said Stadium Riot

Matches between Al Masry and Al Ahly are always fiercely contested and there is real enmity between sections of the two fan bases.

And the match between the two rivals in February 2012 in Port said was no exception, with match kick-off delayed because hundreds of Al Masry fans were on the pitch. They returned to the pitch at half-time, and on the three occasions in the second half when their team scored a goal.

The final whistle was the signal for thousands of them to return, and bottles and fireworks were thrown at the Al Ahly players who fled to seek sanctuary in their dressing room.

Ahly coach Manuel José was kicked and punched by Al Masry fans in the chaos, whilst several Ahly players witnessed fans from their club die in front of their eyes.

A section of the home fans were totally out of control, and armed with clubs, knifes and other weapons, they lashed out indiscriminately.

Meanwhile the police did nothing to contain the rioters, and refused to open the lock gates enabling the crowd to flee. Some eyewitnesses claimed that they had seen law enforcement officers remove the barriers separating the two sets of fans, whilst others claimed they had turned a blind eye to fans getting into the ground without tickets.

It was later claimed that the police’s inaction was politically motivated and was in retaliation for the support of the Al Ahly ultras for anti-government protests the previous year.

The upshot, though, was that 74 people were dead, and more than 500 injured. Some of those who died had been stabbed or clubbed, whilst others had been thrown off stands or died in the stampede as they attempted to escape the violence.

73 people were later charged in connection with the riot, including nine police officers and two officials from Al Masry. An initial 21 death sentences were handed down, although most of these were later commuted to lengthy prison sentences.

However, a number of those convicted remain on death row. As a  result of the massacre, the Egyptian government shut down the

Leave a Reply