I think soccer has always been known to have some of the most brutal rivalries between fans. The streets of Europe are cluttered with clans of hooligans starting fights and throwing objects at soccer players and fans of their opposing team. However, what happened in Egypt February 1st, 2012 was to a new extreme of soccer violence.
Through the entire Al-Ahly and Al-Masry match, there was reported tension between the supports of the two teams. According to CNN, the fans of both teams began throwing rocks and bottles at players. When the final whistle blew thousands of Masry supports stormed the field and began attacking supporters of Al-Ahly, despite Masry’s 3-1 victory at their home field. Some of these hooligans were reportedly armed with swords, machetes and firearms.
Mamdouh Eid, executive manager of the Al-Ahly fans committee, blamed the police officers for the lack of support in the attacks. “The police stood there watching, and the ambulances arrived late. I carried several dead fans in my arms,” said Eid.
I don’t think the police should be blamed entirely for this chaos. Police can only do so much when thousands of crazed soccer fans are brawling in an open field. The panic and chaos must be horrific at a scene like that, especially considered the panic of getting both teams. I think they should commended for saving the players of both soccer teams.
All members of both teams escaped the field without injury, but seventy supports are reported dead and over 1,000 are injured. The violence was reportedly one of the worst sporting disasters in the world, and was enough reason for Egypt’s officials to suspend the Egyptian Football Premier League indefinitely.