Officials fired after Egypt soccer riots that killed 74
City and EFA officials lose jobs; 3 days of national mourning declared
Egyptian Football Association officials, along with officials in Port Said, have been fired following the riots after Wednesday’s soccer match between Al Masry and Al Ahly, in which 74 people died, the BBC reported.
Port Said’s governor resigned Thursday and two senior security officials were suspended and in custody.
On Wednesday, one of the deadliest sports incidents in Egypt occurred when fans of the home team, Al Masry, took the field following the team’s 3-1 win over Al Ahly. Many have blamed the Port Said security forces for the violence that led to 74 deaths.
“It was planned and deliberate,” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Washington Post reported. “It’s unbelievable and unjustifiable.”
While the Egyptian parliament has started an investigation into the incident, FIFA President Sepp Blatter also called for action to prevent a repeat of the violence that occurred after the match, the Associated Press reported.
“I fully understand the country’s shock and anger that such a disaster could have come to pass,” Blatter wrote to EFA President Samir Zaher on Thursday, the AP reported. “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.”
Blatter spoke with Zaher on the phone earlier in the morning, before the EFA president, and the rest of his board, was fired by Prime Minister Kamal el Ganzouri. According to the AP, the move could be seen as government interference into a national federation’s affairs, as well as a violation of FIFA statutes.
“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 federation before the government intervention. FIFA has yet to comment on the sacking of the entire EFA board.
Egypt has declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the incident. Thousands of protesters gathered and marched on Thursday. Violence between protesters and security forces erupted, and crowds were hit with tear gas, GlobalPost reported.
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.