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Mar 11, 2013

Egyptian league to continue after violence

Egyptian league matches will continue despite further violence in which the headquarters of the Egyptian FA were set on fire, officials in the country have said.

The trouble followed a second court ruling in the aftermath of the Port Said football deaths in early 2012.

More than 70 people were killed when riots broke out between fans of Port Said club Al-Masry and Cairo club Al-Ahly at Port Said Stadium last February.

The ruling confirmed 21 sentences of death by hanging, imposed last month on those found to have been involved in the fatal disturbances.

Five of 52 other defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment, with others either receiving lesser sentences or being acquitted.

The verdicts saw major outbreaks of violence in both Port Said and Cairo, but the Egyptian FA and the country's interior minister both said they believed football - with games currently being played behind closed doors - should continue.

League games began again last month after the competition was suspended for a year in the aftermath of the Port Said deaths.

"For us it is important that football continues - the league has to play on," Inside World Football quoted an Egyptian football source as saying.

Another source said: "The Al-Ahly board has already taken the decision that they will not play in Port Said for five years. We expect this decision to be honoured."

Measures that will begin to allow supporters back into grounds are likely to be in place for the African Champions League and the national team's World Cup qualifiers.

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