BBC Segments – Egypt football protests

The Egyptian Football Association’s postponement last week of the professional league’s resumption for the third time in less than two months has triggered a new round of fireworks in Cairo. This time, it was a group of players who marched on the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis to demand that the league be allowed to go ahead. The protesters were led by the Zamalek captain, and international football’s most-capped player, Ahmed Hassan. Events really reached a boil, though, when the demonstrators parked themselves in front of the nearby hotel where Al Ahly’s African Champions League semifinal opponents Sunshine Stars were staying, in an apparent attempt to keep the Nigerian side from reaching the stadium for their Sunday evening match and thus force Ahly’s disqualification from the tournament. Ahly’s diehard supporters, Ultras Ahlawy–whose threats to storm stadiums if the domestic league resumes before the resolution of the Port Said trial are widely viewed as behind the Football Association’s reluctance to restart the league–sprang into action, this time to ensure that the night’s match would proceed as scheduled. Following clashes between players and fans outside the hotel and reported police interventions of tear gas, Sunshine Stars were able to make their way to the stadium. The game, delayed by a half-hour, ended in a 1-0 win for Ahly, who will now play for the championship next month against Esperance Sportive of Tunisia.

I discussed Sunday’s events as well as their larger context with the BBC today on Sport Today (about the 11 minute mark) and Newsday (53:15).

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