REUTERS - At least 50 people were killed and hundreds of others injured on Wednesday after a soccer pitch invasion in the Egyptian city of Port Said, health ministry sources said, in an incident that one player described as “a war, not football”.
The game was between Al Ahli, one of Egypt’s most successful clubs, and al-Masry, a team based in Port Said. Live television footage showed fans running onto the field and chasing Ahli soccer players.
Ahli player Mohamed Abo Treika described the violence as war as Masry fans invaded the pitch after the referee blew the whistle, even though the team had beaten Ahli 3-1.
“This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us. There is no movement and no security and no ambulances,” Abo Treika told the Ahli television channel. “I call for the premier league to be cancelled. This is horrible situation and today can never be forgotten.”
State television quoted Hesham Sheiha, deputy health minister, as saying that most of the injuries were caused by concussion and deep cuts.
Another match in Cairo was halted by the referee after receiving news of the violence in Port Said, prompting fans to set parts of the stadium on fire, television footage showed.
Violence at football matches across north Africa has increased significantly since political unrest sweeping across the region began more than a year ago.