Masry sanctions over Port Said disaster lifted: EFA spokesman
Masry have had their sanctions over the Port Said tragedy lifted by the international body the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) spokesman said on Tuesday.
The club were banned by the EFA for two seasons and demoted to the second division after their supporters invaded the pitch to confront Ahly’s visiting contingent in a league game last February, a tragedy which left more than 70 fans dead and hundreds injured.
The EFA also ruled that the Port Said stadium be shut for three seasons.
“We received a fax from CAS tonight saying that the sanctions have been removed. Masry will just have to play one season behind closed doors,” EFA spokesman Azmy Megahed said.
“The CAS said the riots had nothing to do with football , because they occurred outside the pitch - so it’s a crime that is not related to football.
“The EFA board meeting will convene tomorrow to approve the CAS ruling, which cannot be appealed. We call on Masry and Ahly officials to stick to the law to restore calmness in Egyptian football,” he added.
The CAS official website is yet to formally announce the decision.
Lifting the sanctions imposed on Masry is likely to enrage Cairo giants Ahly, who were heavily criticized by their own supporters for their “reluctance to pressure Egyptian authorities into punishing the culprits” of Egypt’s worst-ever football tragedy.
All domestic football activities have been suspended since the tragedy, with the interior ministry insisting it would not secure any game unless new 10 safety requirements were met by the cash-strapped Egyptian clubs.
The Masry sanctions sparked clashes between the club’s supporters and the Egyptian army in Port Said last March. The die-hard fans accused authorities of making Masry a scapegoat.
A number of security officials and Masry fans are facing trial on charges of negligence and premeditated murder respectively.
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