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25 Ultras Ahlawy members arrested following basketball match break-in - Daily News Egypt

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25 Ultras Ahlawy members arrested following basketball match break-in

Hardcore supporters of Al-Ahly club protest against alleged collaboration between club chairman, Egyptian Basketball Federation and police to bar fans

At least 25 Ultras Ahlawy have been arrested following an attempted break in to a Cairo basketball arena Tuesday evening.

The arena was host to a match between Al-Ahly SC and arch-rivals Zamalek SC.

Clashes between the hardcore Al-Ahly fans and security forces were sparked after the fans were denied entry to attend the premier league basketball match.

According to an Ultras Ahlawy source, the majority of detainees were released early Wednesday morning. However, it is believed that some remain in custody on charges of attempted breaking and entering, and rioting.

An Ahlawy member told Daily News Egypt that the sporting federations in charge of basketball, handball and volleyball usually permit fans to attend matches. However, the Ultras maintain that they were restricted from entering on Tuesday evening upon the request of the Al-Ahly SC president, who urged the federation to bring in police units to secure the match.

The source said that Ultras Ahlawy decided to try to storm the arena in protest against the club president’s decision.

Sporting clubs in Egypt are often middle-men between federations and the fans and try to moderate the behaviour of their supporters in the face of federation pressure. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) imposes fines on clubs for fan behaviour, such as igniting fireworks and flares in the stadiums. Ultras often organise pyrotechnic displays at the beginning of matches to greet their players.

The EFA announced Sunday that Egyptian fans will be allowed to attend matches starting from the second part of the Egyptian Premier League. Football matches have been held behind closed doors since the Port Said Massacre in 2012, which resulted in the deaths of 74 Al-Ahly supporters.

On 29 December, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters is expected to deliver its postponed verdict on dissolving all of Egypt’s Ultra groups and listing them as a terrorist movement. The lawsuit was in response to an alleged assassination attempt on Zamalek SC chairman Mortada Mansour by the club’s ultras, a charge which the fans strongly deny.

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