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Blatter: 'A black day for football'

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Blatter: 'A black day for football'
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The Port Said Stadium, an 18,000 seater venue – a venue that will now forever be remembered for one of Africa’s worst football-related disasters.

In what FIFA president Sepp Blatter later described as a ‘black day for football’ – 74 people died and a thousand more were injured following violent clashes between two of Egypt’s topflight clubs, Al-Masry and Al-Alhi.

“It’s a black day for football. You know that the whole country of Egypt is in a delicate situation. It’ doesn’t need much to inflame a fire.

‘‘In every association there is a person responsible of security. But in football there is so much emotion and passion that total safety can’t be guaranteed.’‘

It was Africa’s worst football related tragedy since 2001 when some 125 people were killed in a stampede at the Stadium in Accra.

Once referred to by the British media as the ‘English Disease’ hooliganism has marred ‘the beautiful Game’ for decades.

Two serious tragedies had a massive impact on safety at European stadiums in the 1980s.

Safety and security were generally tightened everywhere following the Heysel Stadium disaster in which 39 people died when Liverpool hooligans charged Juventus supporters in the stands, which then collapsed.

The tragedy resulted in all English football clubs banned by UEFA from all European competitions for six years.

The disaster was later described as “the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions”.

The Hillsborough disaster in England in 1989 was the second. 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield when Liverpool played Nottingham Forest.

Hooliganism, however, is not just an English cross to bare – it is a global one.

And Wednesday night’s violence in Egypt is just another dark reminder that the fight against football hooliganism is far from over.