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FIFA demand Egypt investigation into stadium tragedy

Sepp Blatter asks authorities to provide reasons for violence at stadium last night in which at least 74 died.

An Egyptian soccer fan shouts anti-ruling military council slogans during a protest at Sphinx square in Cairo today.
An Egyptian soccer fan shouts anti-ruling military council slogans during a protest at Sphinx square in Cairo today.
Image: Amr Nabil/AP/Press Association Images

FOOTBALL’S WORLD GOVERNING body has demanded a full investigation into the causes of the stadium violence in Egypt last night.

The country has declared three days of national mourning after the riots at a game at Port Said left at least 74 people dead.

In the deadliest soccer violence since 1996, fans were crushed to death while others were fatally stabbed or suffocated in a stampede following Al-Masry’s league match against Al-Ahly.

“I fully understand the country’s shock and anger that such a disaster could have come to pass,” FIFA chief Sepp Blatter wrote to Egyptian Football Association president, Samir Zaher.

“Today is a black today 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 on the telephone this morning, I await further news from you concerning the circumstances of this tragedy.”

Egyptian activists have accused the police and military of failing to intervene to stop the mayhem in Port Said.

The melee erupted when Al-Masry fans stormed the field following a surprising 3-1 win against Al-Ahly. Al-Masry supporters, armed with knives, sticks and stones, chased players and fans from the rival team, Al-Ahly, who ran toward the exits and up the stands to escape, according to witnesses.

“As always, FIFA stands by your side at this difficult time and is ready to provide you with any support you may need,” Blatter wrote to the Egyptian FA.

The Interior Ministry said 74 people died, including one police officer, and 248 were injured, 14 of them police.

“My thoughts are with the families of all those who have lost their lives,” Blatter said.

- additional reporting AP

Three days of mourning after at least 74 killed in Egyptian soccer clashes

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