CAIRO: The Egyptian Football Association instructed football players of Al-Ahly and Al-Masry clubs not to wear mourning badges or jerseys with political slogans during their match, scheduled to take place in the Red Sea resort of El-Gouna Saturday.
The match will be held behind closed doors and with absence of fans of both sides due to security concerns.
It is the first head-to-head match between the two rivals since the horrific Port Said massacre in 2012, when 72 football fans were brutally murdered in the Port Said Stadium following clashes that broke out between fans of Ultras Ahlawy and the Green Eagles fan group of Al-Masry.
The incident caused the Egyptian Premier League to be cancelled in 2012 before it was resumed in 2013 with fans subsequently banned from attending games.
Controversy has been surrounding the Saturday’s match as families of the Port Said victims have protested in front of the club and demanded that Al-Ahly to withdraw the match in respect to the martyrs.
The families demanded that the game be cancelled or postponed until the verdict in the Port Said “football massacre” trial is issued.
An initial verdict of the Port-Said disaster that was issued in 2013 sentenced 21 defendants to death and five to life in prison. A retrial was ordered by a Cairo court in early 2014.
However, Al-Ahly’s board of directors insisted on playing the match saying that the members will not watch it from the stand.