After making calls to storm the Borg Al-Arab Stadium where the Super Cup bame was played between the Al-Ahly and Enppi Clubs, the Ultras Ahlawy fan group reversed its calls in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The fan group had made a call on Saturday for its members and others to storm the pitch of Borg Al Arab Stadium in Alexandria. The group announced in the afternoon on Saturday that its members were engaging in a sit-in inside Al-Ahly Club in Gezira until it was time for them to travel to Alexandria.
However, the group then announced “if the decision to stop the game or be placed in a confrontation with an Egyptian citizen will spill a single drop of blood, then we refuse to be a part of it… so we are announcing the cancellation of the plans of gathering and travelling together.”
Despite the statement, some of the fans went anyway. Hanaa Abu El-Ezz, an Alexandria based journalist said that as of Sunday evening the situation in Alexandria was under control. However there were “some 2,000 protesters blocking the Cairo Alex Dessert road… close to the hotel where the players are staying,” she said.
“No one has stormed the stadium and anyone who goes inside the stadium has to have a ticket. Even wallets are being checked by security and they won’t even let people go through with their lighters,” she added. Abu El-Ezz said the security secured the backdoors of the stadium for the players to leave the stadium through after the match and that Giza police were securing the game alongside their Alexandrian colleagues.
In Cairo, hundreds of protestors gathered in Mohamed Mahmoud Street to show solidarity with members of Ultras Ahlawy and Ultras Devils, who in turn were protesting near the Borg El Arab stadium in Alexandria.
The crowd chanted and sang songs about the Port Said massacre victims and traditional ultras anti-police songs. They said they would march to the nearby Ministry of Interior main headquarters if their fellow ultras were attacked by security forces in Alexandria.
One of the protesters who identified himself as David said, “we will not leave until the match is cancelled.” He said the sport should be resumed “when retribution for the martyrs is achieved. You want to make your money, then at least avenge the martyrs first.”
The official spokesperson for President Morsy said it is not the president’s place to cancel the match, according to state-run Al Ahram. He added that he understands that sentiments have been building, so “all parties are invited for dialogue since the sports industry is very important for Egypt and what adds value to it is the audience.”
Following increased pressure on Saturday, the Egyptian Premier League for the year 2012-2013 was postponed from 17 September to 17 October. In their statement on Sunday, the Ultras Ahlawy said “postponing the league is not an end and having the super cup game doesn’t come in the way of our demands. We are continuing what we have previously announced, purging the corrupt sports institutions and their media.”
The objection to the game stems from group’s belief, shared by many Egyptians, that the game should not be played until justice is served for the more than 70 Al-Ahly fans who were killed while supporting their team in a football match in Port Said in February.
Superstar football player Mohamed Abu Treika did not take part in the game. The player who was rumoured to have resigned over this game said in a statement on Sunday that he was “not participating in the game for fears that another massacre will happen in Borg Al-Arab Stadium in Alexandria… and that for the sake of avoiding bloodshed, the game should not have been played so that the Port Said massacre doesn’t happen again.”
After the deadly incident dubbed the “Port Said massacre”, only friendly football games have been played between Egyptian teams. Since the Egyptian Premier League and Egypt Cup were suspended after the Port Said Massacre, the Super Cup which is usually played between the winners of the two competitions will be played between the winners of last year’s competition.