Head of Egypt soccer team rules out police role in deaths of 22 fans in clashes, stampede

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.