The confusion between sports fanaticism and politics poses a serious threat
Akram al-Qasas
By Akram al-Qasas

Fanaticism leads to violence in absence of a mind; the violent actions witnessed in Egypt’s Zamalek Club reflect the violence that has dominated the Egyptian community during the recent period.

Fans of Ahly and Zamalek commonly protest after a poor performance of their respective team, and recent years have witnessed large number of clashes following the appearance of the Ultras, Zamalek’s hard core fan group.

Ultras have burned the headquarters of Egypt’s Football Federation, stealing awards and cups. They have attacked Ahly Club. They also attacked and stormed the Zamalek Club to protest what they described as an insulting defeat for Zamalek from its historic rival, Ahly. They demanded the chairperson of Zamalek, Mamdouh Abbas, leave his position.

Although fans have the right to express anger, they have attacked facilities, killed people and burned property. The Ultras’ violence started in 2010, when the White Knights attacked the headquarters of the Ahly Club. A number of Ultras participated in January 25 Revolution, and have continued to have a political image.

It is clear that politics affected the Ultras, while football affected politics.

The White Knights believe that their increasing numbers could prevent authorities from implementing the law or taking punitive actions against them.

The Egyptian media has focused on explaining the political role of the Ultras, yet it has ignored the threat posed by the confusion between politics and sport, ignoring the danger of polarization of such groups that gather between people adopting different visions.

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