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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Turkey offers example for cracking down on soccer violence

By James M. Dorsey
 
As the Egyptian Football Association cracks down on militant soccer violence by penalising clubs, it could catch two flies at once by learning from similar efforts by its Turkish counterpart.

Egypt in recent days has ordered crowned Cairo clubs Al Ahly SC and Al Zamalek SC to each play two home games in an empty stadium after the clubs' militant, highly politicised, violence-prone ultras -- fan groups modelled on similar organisations in Serbia and Italy, lit fireworks, flares and smoke guns during matches.

Al Ahly was ordered to play without the support of its fans on November 2 against Al Dakhleya SC and against Ismaily on November 18. Zamalek will compete without fans against police-owned Ittihad Al-Shorta on November 8 and Masry on December 14.

In a creative move, the Turkish Football Federation recently ordered Istanbul's Fenerbahce to play without its fans but to open the stadium to women and children under 12.

Fenerbahce's match against Manisaspor proved to be a boost for women involvement in sport. A similar moved would serve Egypt, a pioneer in Arab women's football, well.

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