CAIRO - Egypt's interim military rulers
condemned Zamalek's fans for "acts of thuggery" on Sunday a day
after an African Champions League tie against Tunisia's Club
Africain was abandoned because of a pitch invasion.
Crowds raced on to the field in the final minutes after a
Zamelek goal was disallowed. Nine people were injured during the
ugly scenes while television pictures showed the Zamalek players
protecting the Tunisian team.
The country's Supreme Council of Armed Forces, handed power
after mass demonstrations ousted President Hosni Mubarak in
February, ordered an immediate investigation and set up a
committee to be headed by the Justice Minister.
The council said it would not accept events that "tarnished
Egypt's reputation and its great people" while Egypt's Prime
Minister Essam Sharaf and the head of the country's football federation apologised to the Tunisian team.
"The values of the Egyptian and Tunisian people were the
primary reason for the success of their revolutions," Sharaf
said on the cabinet's Facebook page, referring to the popular
protests that also toppled Tunisia's president in January.
"Last night's events do not in any way reflect the position
of the Egyptian people towards their Tunisian brothers."
Dozens of Egyptians also gathered in front of the
Tunisian embassy in Cairo to apologise for the violence.
Zamalek were winning 2-1 when the Egyptian side's third
goal, which would have put them ahead on away goals, was ruled
out, angering the home fans who took over the pitch and forced
the Algerian referee to leave.
It was the second leg of the round of 32 tie after Club
Africain beat Zamalek 4-2 in the first leg.
The incident revived the football tension between Egypt and
Algeria after a diplomatic row broke out late in 2009 after an
ill-tempered World Cup qualifier between the country's.
The Cairo Stadium had an unusually light police presence for
Saturday's match, a contrast to the heavy security presence in
football games in the Arab world's most populous nation.
Saturday's events have prompted questions over how Egypt's
league can resume without proper security.
Samir Zaher, head of
Egypt's Football Federation, said on Sunday that the Premier
League season, which was scheduled to resume on 15 April, may be
postponed or matches played behind closed doors.
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