clashes between police and supporters of Egypt's Zamalek football club at a game in Cairo (AFP)
clashes between police and supporters of Egypt’s Zamalek football club at a game in Cairo (AFP)

Cairo, 19 Rabiul Akhir 1435/9 February 2015 (MINA) – At least 40 people have been killed and dozens injured in clashes between police and supporters of Egypt’s Zamalek football club at a game in Cairo, medics say.

Police used tear gas to disperse the football fans during Sunday’s clashes at an army-owned stadium in the city’s northeast, Al Jazeera quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said that the clashes occurred after supporters of Zamalek, known as Ultras White Knights, tried to attend the game without buying tickets.

But according to fans, authorities only opened up one narrow barbed-wire door into the stadium, sparking the incident.

“This was bound to happen,” Abdul Musa, a football journalist based in London, told Al Jazeera. “They [Ultras] have been threatening to cause violence in recent events. That’s why there was a lot of police force today in Cairo.”

Musa said Ultras – “some of the fiercest fans in Africa” who are known for violent riots – were banned from entering the stadium on Sunday.

“They were not allowed to go in. They tried to force their way in and police reacted violently,” he said.

Following the incident, the Egyptian government said it had decied to postpone the Premier League until further notice.

Previous deadly match

In February 2012, a riot broke out at a match in Port Said, where the home Al-Masry fans attacked Cairo’s Al-Ahly supporters with explosives, knives and broken glass.

At least 72 Al-Ahly supporters were killed and more than 500 people injured.

After that incident, the interim Egyptian government banned domestic league football for two years.

Last month, Al-Ahly and Al-Masry faced each other in the first game since the 2012 riot.

Ultras, who are known for challenging authority, supported the Egyptian revolution in 2011, joining other Egyptians calling for change.

Ultras have often clashed with security forces at matches. (T/R03/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)