It’s quite understandable why many people feel that some nations should simply ban professional soccer since it often produces nothing more than violence, rioting, and far too many deaths. Hooligans in several countries across the world reduce the sport to a deadly circus and have no interest in the actual games whatsoever.

So it’s sad, but not shocking, to report that more senseless soccer violence has turned deadly again in Egypt. One person, reportedly a 13-year-old, was shot in the back and died and dozens of others were injured when thousands of hooligans who support the Al-Masry soccer team in the city of Port Said, clashed with Egyptian police and soldiers on March 23.

The newest clashes took place after Al-Masry was punished for the actions of its fans on Feb. 1 when rioting at the team’s stadium resulted in the deaths of 74 people and left about a thousand others injured. That incident took place following the club’s 3-1 win over Cairo team Al-Ahly. Deadly riots also took place in the days following the game.

A total of 75 people were charged in connection with the stadium riot, including several top-ranking police officials as it’s believed they stood by and watched while the killing spree took place. The latest violence flared after the Egyptian Football Association suspended Al-Masry from the Premier League for two years and their stadium was ordered closed for three years. The current season was recently cancelled after the stadium deaths.

Egyptian troops shot rounds of tear gas into the mob on March 23 and fired bullets in the air to disperse the protesters who were angry with the club’s punishment. Protesters blocked major roads, set fire to cars, and then gathered in front of an administrative building and attempted to storm it. However, police and armed forces cordoned the building off.

However, while Al-Masry fans were incensed over the punishment placed on their team, many others felt the sanctions were far too lenient, including the Al-Ahly team. In fact, fans of that club said if the punishment wasn’t increased there could be further violence since many supporters could retaliate against Al-Masry. The ban means Al-Masry will be allowed back in the league for the 2013/14 season.

Al-Ahly was also punished for its part in the stadium riot since some of the team’s fans held up obscene signs during the game against Al-Masry. The club was ordered to play its next four CAF Champions League contests in empty stadiums and manager Manuel Jose of Portugal was suspended for four games. In addition, midfielder Hossam Ghaly received a four-game ban and a fine for arguing with the referee just minutes before the stadium riot took place.

The Ahly club said its players were traumatized by the stadium riot as some of the team’s fans were injured and died in the players’ dressing room. Hassan Hamdy, president of the team, said the punishment for Al-Masry was far too lenient and he will keep fighting for justice for both the team and the martyrs.

Written by Ian Palmer via FeedCrossing, Content News Source

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