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Middle East
Egypt delays start of premier league football
Al-Ahly football club demands that perpetrators of deadly stadium riot be brought to justice before league starts.
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2012 10:08
At least 74 people, mostly Al-Ahly supporters, were killed in violence during a football game in February [Reuters]

Egypt's Sports Ministry has decided to delay the start of the country's premier league for one month, following the storming by angry fans of the football association's headquarters.

Association head Amer Hussein told reporters on Saturday that delaying games until October 17 will allow the 18 league teams to be paid from television stations broadcasting matches.

He did not cite as a reason the protest on Wednesday by Al-Ahly's supporter club, Ultras, who are angry over the resumption of games.

They want the perpetrators of a February stadium riot that killed 74 people, mostly Al-Ahly supporters, brought to justice first.

The federation shut down the league after the violence, but recently reversed the decision. Officials said games will be played without fans in attendance.

Super Cup game

However, a Super Cup match between the winners of the Egyptian Premier League and the Egypt Cup was scheduled to go ahead on Sunday evening.

The match will be played between Egypt's most popular team Al-Ahly and ENPPI, and Ultras had earlier planned to protest outside the stadium.

Egypt captain and Al-Ahly football team member Mohamed Aboutrika is opposing the team's Super Cup game and said he would not travel to Alexandria, Egypt's Daily News reported.

Sports Minister El-Amry Farouk insisted that the Super Cup match will go on as planned, even after the Ultras claimed they would die before it was played, local media reported.

"The decision to postpone the Egyptian League is one of our gains, but it's not our only demand. We refuse to engage in any clashes that might lead to a shedding of blood," Ultras said in a statement on their Facebook page.

"We wholly reject to turn it into a confrontation with fellow citizens … so we announce that we have cancelled tomorrow's gathering [in Cairo] that was supposed to be followed by a travel to Alexandria," they added.

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