Aftermath: three players quit,demand ‘retribution’

Egypt internationals and Al-Ahly players Mohamed Aboutrika,Emad Moteab and Mohamed Barakat say they have retired from all football after witnessing the deadly clashes

Written by Associated Press | Cairo | Published: February 3, 2012 12:27 am

Egypt internationals and Al-Ahly players Mohamed Aboutrika,Emad Moteab and Mohamed Barakat say they have retired from all football after witnessing the deadly clashes between fans at their league game against Al-Masry on Wednesday.

Aboutrika and Moteab told Al-Ahly TV that they would not play again after the mass violence that left at least 74 people dead at a stadium in the Mediterranean city of Port Said. Midfielder Barakat didn’t rule out returning one day,but told the channel that he refused to play until there was “retribution for the people that died.”

Aboutrika and Barakat started the game against Al-Masry,while Moteab was a substitute. Al-Ahly’s Portuguese coach Manuel Jose has also reportedly asked the Cairo club to cancel his contract and allow him to return to Portugal.

Meanwhile,Egypt’s Prime Minister has dissolved the Egyptian Soccer Federation’s board and referred its members for questioning by prosecutors.

Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri announced the decision during Thursday’s emergency parliamentary session. El-Ganzouri also says the governor of Port Said province and the area’s police chief have resigned.

Witnesses had said that riot police stood by as supporters of home team Al-Masry rushed the field after their 3-1 win over Al-Ahly.

Blatter seeks explanation

Earlier in the day,FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote to the Egyptian federation for details on the causes of the riot.

“I fully understand the country’s shock and anger that such a disaster could have come to pass,” Blatter wrote to EFA president Samir Zaher. “Today is a black for football and we must take steps to ensure that such a catastrophe never happens again. Football is a force for good,and we must not allow it to be abused by those who mean evil. As discussed on the telephone this morning,I await further news from you concerning the circumstances of this tragedy.”

Egyptian activists have accused the police and military of failing to intervene to stop the mayhem in Port Said. The melee erupted when Al-Masry fans stormed the field following a surprising 3-1 win against Al-Ahly. Al-Masry supporters,armed with knives,sticks and stones,chased players and fans from the rival team,Al-Ahly,who ran toward the exits and up the stands to escape,according to witnesses.

“As always,FIFA stands by your side at this difficult time and is ready to provide you with any support you may need,” Blatter wrote to the Egyptian FA. “My thoughts are with the families of all those who have lost their lives,” Blatter said.

FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan also decried the violence. “It saddens me to witness such violence in a sport that has the power to unify nations and overcome differences,” he said. “I have confidence in the Egyptian football family and their ability to recover from this tragedy and regain their strength.”

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