Egyptian league games delayed indefinitely

Associated Press Modified: October 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm •  Published: October 16, 2012

CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian Football Federation on Tuesday delayed domestic league games indefinitely because police have not given assurances they can secure matches.

The federation's deputy chairman Hassan Farid told The Associated Press that the Interior Ministry has not guaranteed it can safeguard the games, which were scheduled to start in August. The season was delayed several times over the past two months due to protests by die-hard fans and issues related to corporate sponsorships.

Fans are demanding justice for 74 people killed in February when supporters of Al-Masry, in the Mediterranean city of Port Said, stormed the pitch and bleachers where Cairo's Al-Ahly team players and fans were positioned. Stadium lights were shut off and doors barred shut during the melee, causing a suffocating stampede. Witnesses said they saw Al-Ahly fans being thrown off bleachers, stabbed and undressed.

Local rights groups say security forces stood by to punish fans of Egypt's most popular team, Al-Ahly, for their high-profile involvement in protests against the former regime and the transitional military rule. Among 73 people who have been charged in the incident are nine senior police officers.

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