Egypt allows fans back into stadiums for domestic games

Egypt allows fans back into stadiums for domestic games

CAIRO: Egypt will allow crowds back into football matches more than six years after dozens of people were killed, during rioting, at a match in Port Said.

Up to 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend Egyptian Premier League games from Sept. 1, Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi told local media.

The move to allow partial crowds back into domestic matches follows demands from many supporters, who said the sport had become dull without spectators.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) made similar announcements in the past but failed to get approval from the interior ministry.

The crowd ban originally came into effect following the Port Said tragedy in February 2012 - Egypt’s worst football disaster.

More than 70 Al-Ahly fans were killed when massive riots swept through the stadium.

The ban was briefly lifted in February 2015 but was immediately re-instated after more than 20 Zamalek supporters were killed in a stampede, after security forces fired tear gas, before a league game against Enppi at Cairo’s Army Defence Stadium.

Fans were still allowed to attend continental games for Egyptian clubs, as well as matches featuring the national team.

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