FIFA asks report into violence in Port Said
ZURICH-KUALA LUMPURFIFA has requested a full report from Egyptian authorities into the violence at a soccer match in Port Said that left 74 people dead, world soccer’s governing body said Feb. 2.
At least 1,000 people were injured in the violence on Feb. 1 when fans invaded the pitch after local team al-Masry beat Cairo-based Al Ahli, the most successful club in Africa. Most of the deaths were among people trampled in the crush of the panicking crowd, while others fell or were thrown from terraces.
The incident was Egypt’s worst footballl disaster and the country’s football association (FA) board have been sacked by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter wrote to the head of the Egyptian FA Samir Zaher offering his condolences and support.
“I would like to join your country and the football family in mourning the death of the dozens of Egyptian football fans and others at last night’s match in Port Said,” the letter said. “Today is a black day for football and we must take steps to ensure that such a catastrophe never happens again. Football is a force for good and we must not allow it to be abused by those who mean evil.
“As discussed by telephone this morning, I await further news from you concerning the circumstances of this tragedy.”
Egypt’s FA said it was indefinitely postponing matches in the premier league. Al-Ahly club suspended all sports activities and declared three days of mourning.
Meanwhile, the head of Asian football offered the region’s condolences on Feb. 3.
“On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to offer my profound sympathy and condolences,” Zhang Jilong, acting president of the Asian Football Confederation, said in a letter to the Egyptian Football Association. “We stand ready to assist you in this time of mourning for Egyptian football.”