Cairo, Egypt

Football stadiums are emptied to quash the Ultras

The World Today Updated 4 January 2021 Published 1 April 2015 2 minute READ

Louisa Loveluck

Cairo Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph

Egypt’s football stadiums are eerie places these days. Teams which once played to pulsating terraces now celebrate their goals in front of empty seats.

The country’s wildly popular Premier League was suspended on February 9, after 22 fans of the Cairo team Zamalek died in a stampede. The government said the league would resume by the end of March, but spectators would still be banned.

The decision to reinstate a ban on spectators underscores the government’s suspicion of legions of hardcore football fans, known at the Ultras. These are one of the most raucous and defiant forces in Egyptian street politics and a challenge to a regime trying to keep a lid on dissent.

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