The head of Egypt's second largest soccer team says he doesn't blame police for deaths of 22 fans during clashes and a stampede in front of a Cairo stadium.

Mortada Mansour, head of the Zamalek team, told a private Egyptian TV station that police did not open fire on fans, and that Sunday's violence was "orchestrated" to foil upcoming parliamentary elections.

Mansour, a well-known lawyer, is a staunch supporter of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former army chief who has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent since the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Authorities say the violence began when hundreds of hard-core Zamalek fans known as Ultras White Knights tried to force their way into the stadium to attend a soccer match without tickets.