State officials seek to end crisis with Ultras in 15 days
Riot policemen deploy themselves during clashes with Ultras Ahlawy - AFP

CAIRO: State officials ordered to end the crisis between the Ultras, fanatic football fan groups, and the Interior Ministry within 15 days, Al-Shorouq newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Several state officials held a six-hour meeting on Monday with the lawyers of the families of the Al-Ahly supporters that died in the Port Said riots, to end the current crisis between the Interior Ministry and Ultras groups.

Informed sources told Al-Shorouq that the meeting resulted in a nine-step plan to allow supporters to attend matches again. The prime minister advisor of political affairs would have stressed that clashing with security forces is not the solution to end the crisis.

The sources further said that the Ministry of Interior would proceed on working with a new yearly electronic ticket system, linked to IDs of fans, and that the Cabinet has agreed to name youth centers and streets after Port Said victims.

The lawyers said a fair trial for the ones responsible for killing 74 Al-Ahly supporters in the Port Said stadium riots on Feb. 1, 2012, could be a starting point to calm down the current situation.

The Interior Ministry decided to completely ban supporters from stadiums after Ultras of Al-Ahly clashed with security forces in the Cairo International Stadium during the African Super Cup on Feb. 20 this year.

On March 1, Zamalek Ultras clashed with state forces in front of the stadium as they tried to attend a match.

Last Sunday, Ultras from seven major Egyptian football clubs issued a statement calling on fans to demonstrate on Saturday, March 15 to protest the presence of forces related to the Ministry of Interior in stadiums.

“We say it loud, we refuse security force attendance in Egyptian stadiums,” the Ultras statement read. “The police forces are unable to secure football matches.”

The Ultras demanded that stadiums “contract private security companies to secure stadiums instead of police forces, just like other countries,” adding that “such companies cost in a year as much as securing one match by the security forces affiliated with the Ministry of Interior.”

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