World Football - Egyptian league to restart in December

The Egyptian Premier League, on hold since the Port Said stadium disaster in February, will resume in December, the Egyptian FA announced.

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World Football - Egyptian league to restart in December
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Fans flee from a fire during the disaster at Port Said

Egypt’s top flight has been on hold since 74 people died after a riot and stampede after Masry’s 3-1 home win against African champions Al-Ahly.

EFA had been looking to resume play for some months but clubs and fans, and those of Ahly in particular, had protested a perceived lack of justice against those responsible for the disaster.

But, after negotiations with the clubs, EFA announced that matches would be played next month.

“EFA has decided to resume the Premier League season in mid-December, having spoken with the clubs,” press agency MENA said.

Several police officers and public officials have been charged with negligence, while a group of supporters were put on trial for attacking rival fans.

The then interim military government blamed a combination of hooliganism and incompetent security and stadium management for the disaster.

But many Egyptians believe it was a coordinated attack backed by security forces seeking to gain revenge over Ahly ‘ultras’ who were vocal in anti-government protests.

Many so-called supporters entered the stadium without tickets, armed with clubs and knives, leading to speculation that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt's temporary military junta, had planned the attack.

However, hooliganism has been a problem in Egyptian football for some years, while the security vacuum after the ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011 was in part blamed for the failure of riot police to manage supporters.

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