International

Egypt suspends soccer league

2015-02-09 14:49
Zamalek stampede (AP)

Cairo - Egypt's Cabinet has suspended the national soccer league until further notice after 22 fans were killed in clashes with police and a stampede outside a Cairo stadium.

The Cabinet announced the move late Sunday after riot police clashed with hundreds of soccer fans and fired tear gas to clear a narrow corridor leading to the stadium, setting off a stampede.

Egypt last suspended the league in 2012 after 74 fans were killed in rioting at a match in Port Said. The violence sparked widespread outrage at the police and the transitional military council then ruling the country.

Meanwhile, the head of Egypt's second largest soccer team says he doesn't blame police for deaths of 22 fans during clashes and a stampede in front of a Cairo stadium.

Mortada Mansour, head of the Zamalek team, told a private Egyptian TV station that police did not open fire on fans, and that Sunday's violence was "orchestrated" to foil upcoming parliamentary elections.

Mansour, a well-known lawyer, is a staunch supporter of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former army chief who has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent since the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Authorities say the violence began when hundreds of hard-core Zamalek fans known as Ultras White Knights tried to force their way into the stadium to attend a soccer match without tickets.

Read more on:    soccer
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