(CNN) An Egyptian court sentenced 11 men to death Tuesday for their involvement in the worst soccer violence in Egypt’s history, according to a broadcast on Egyptian state TV.
More than 70 people, some of them children, were killed on February 1, 2012, when fans rioted at a soccer game in the northeastern city of Port Said.
Fans of the hometown Al-Masry club stormed the field after securing a win over Cairo’s Al-Ahly club. Horrified witnesses described how police officers stood by and watched as rival fans attacked one another with rocks, knives and swords.
The 11 sentenced to death in a retrial of the case were connected to Al-Masry. They will be able to appeal their sentences, state media reported. Forty other people received prison sentences in the case.
The morning after the riots, the stadium looked like a scene from a horror film, with blood splattered on seats and walls. Dozens of shoes were left near a gate ripped from its hinges by the pressure of a surging crowd trying to escape.
Al-Ahly fans blamed police for what happened.
The head of the Port Said security directorate and head of maritime police both received five-year sentences over the deadly violence.
After the Port Said incident, Egypt banned soccer fans from games, and teams played in nearly empty stadiums. Authorities later partially lifted the ban by allowing a limited number of fans to attend games, state media reported.
Unfortunately, Egypt remains no stranger to soccer violence. Last February, 19 people were killed in a crush involving Zamalek club soccer fans.
Authorities blamed the deaths on ticketless fans who tried to push their way in to the game. But Zamalek fans painted a different picture, saying on social media that they were tear gassed as they tried to pass through a single, narrow gated entrance.
Opinion: Egypt’s soccer violence has deeper roots
CNN’s Ian Lee reported from Cairo and Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London. CNN’s Salim Essaid contributed to this report.