Egypt’s Zamalek Says Ultras Retract Threats To Attend Mazembe Clash, Supporters Deny
Published Monday, 20 August 2012 11:58 | Written by Amwal Al Ghad
All continental competitions in Egypt have been held behind closed doors and the last domestic football season was canceled in the wake of February's Port Said disaster that saw the deaths of 74 Ahly fans after post-match clashes with rival supporters Masry.
The famous fan group, UWK, had initially threatened to turn up at the stadium despite the ban causing considerable tensions with the authorities. Many were unsure how the security forces would handle the situation, especially as the game was scheduled to take place on the first day of the Muslim holiday, Eid Al-Fitr.
"The White Knights will not attend the match by force. They held a meeting today with the Interior Ministry leaders and reached an agreement that only 15 members of the group will support the players before the match kicks off," Zamalek's Chief Executive Alaa Mekled told the club's official website.
"The Interior Ministry stressed that fans will be allowed to attend matches again, starting from next month after the matters become more stable in the country," he added.
On the other side, the UWK Facebook page that has more than 234,000 fans said later on Sunday that the group is not obliged with agreement made by the board with ministry officials, insisting that they are sticking with their right to attend the matches of their beloved club.
Tunisiahas been experiencing similar security issues in their league season which is also being held behind closed doors. A match between rivals Esperance and Etoile Sahel, in the same CAF championship, was called off Saturday after a pitch invasion. Police reportedly used tear gas to clear the restive fans from the playing field.
It is a decisive game for the Cairo-based club as they gained no points from three rounds while their bitter rivals Ahly are on the top of Group B with nine points and will be hosted by Ghana’s Berekum Chelsea later Sunday.