Update: On Feb. 1, 2012, more than 70 people were killed in fighting between rival groups of soccer fans during a match in Port Said, Egypt. Organized Egyptian hooligan groups, known as Ultras, were heavily ivolved in the demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak's regime, clashing with police and often turning peaceful demonstrations violent.
In August, 2011, FP looked back at some of the notable occasions when political violence has spilled over onto athletic playing fields.
The Blood in the Water Game
Water polo, a wildly popular sport throughout Eastern Europe, is already a pretty rough game. Throw in a bitter Cold War rivalry and you have the makings of a literal bloodbath.
The 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, took place just days after Soviet forces invaded Hungary to brutally suppress an anti-communist revolution. Several European countries boycotted the games to protest the Soviets' actions. Things came to a head in a semifinal water polo match between Hungary and the Soviet Union, which turned into one of the roughest games in Olympic history.
Players were expelled throughout the game for illegal headlocks, holds, and punches. Late in the match, star Hungarian forward Ervin Zador was sucker-punched by the Soviet player guarding him and was pulled from the pool with a bleeding cut below his eye. Australian police were called in to prevent the heavily pro-Hungarian crowd from rioting.
The Hungarians won the game 4-0 and went on to defeat Yugoslavia for the gold medal. But nearly half of the country's 100-member Olympic delegation defected rather than return home to communism.