Egypt Soccer Riots: Latest News on Tragedy Surrounding Soccer Match
Bad blood has boiled over to wrestle every last drop of goodwill from a sport beloved around the world. More than 70 people have died as a result of a football mob that took over a pitch in Egypt.
Al Jazeera reports 73 people have died and about 1,000 have been injured after a football match between Al-Masry, the home team in the northeastern city of Port Said, stormed the field after a rare 3-1 win against Al-Ahly, Egypt's top team.
The devastation has caused officials to bring an abrupt suspension to all Egyptian Premier League football games in the near future.
Video from the melee shows thousands pouring onto the field as both teams ran for cover and police officials stood by and did little to affect the ghastly proceedings. The report points to their lack of training in dealing with such an ordeal.
Al-Ahly and Al-Masry are bitter rivals, and a rare win against Egypt's top team could have set off the firestorm of violence. There are others that believe the root causes could be found in a volatile political landscape that is still very much unfolding since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
Via the Al Jazeera report, Essam al-Erian, a parliamentarian stated, "the events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime."
This may just be one cause to stoke the fires further after what seems to be yet another brutal clash between hated rivals. As the report continues, "al-Ahly fans were said to have been provoking al-Masry fans throughout the game with abusive language."
You only need to see the words of a player that was on the field when things went awry in Port Said to know how scary a situation it was.
"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. This is a horrible situation and today can never be forgotten."
There were sticks, rocks and chairs thrown and a manager had to be rescued from the pitch who was in the middle of being beaten.
Al-Masry supporters ran all over the pitch, overwhelming fans that ran for their lives to the exits. This is truly a dark day for all sports, as fanaticism truly got the better of people, overtaking their better senses of compassion and humanity.
Legacy of Violence
These sides have had their brushes with violence before, but the game of football has unfortunately been marked far too often by violence, mob mentality and issues with crowd control.
ESPN, reporting on the Egypt melee as well, reminds us of the last time things turned this ugly at a soccer match.
Oct. 16, 1996, when at least 78 people died and 180 others were injured in a stampede at a stadium in Guatemala City before a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica.
And we will never forget the tragic turn of events that took place in the form of the Hillsborough Disaster. A match between Nottingham and Liverpool in 1989 ended just six minutes into the game when overcrowding and lack of police control caused a crushing of fans.
In the end, 96 people died and 766 were injured.
The latest pall on the great sport of world football will continue to unfold in more tragic ways than we can imagine right now.
Sport is supposed to bring us all together in the great pastime of competition. Too often we mistake that competitive fire for something far more sinister.
A great many people died today in Egypt, and there is simply no reason for it.
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