Since the formal inception of the “Ultras” groups in Egypt in 2007, there has been a rise in the conflict between the Egyptian security apparatus and the soccer fans. And despite their anti-political stance in the early days, the Ultras began to participate in dissent and engage in a confrontational relationship with the state authorities ever since their inception. This was culminated in the critical role they played during the eighteen days in January and February 2011 and in more events to follow since. However, despite this important role and the support they have among Egyptian youth, the Egyptian Ultras have been the subject of fairly little academic research. This research seeks to study and compare the political role played by the Ultras before and after January 25th, 2011 through analyzing repertoires of contention, mobilizing structures, and political opportunities and threats through an examination of primary sources. These will include Ultras founder/member Mohamed Gamal Bashir’s (also known as Gemyhood) The Ultras Book: When the Fans Go Beyond the Normal, interviews with Ultras members and leaders, and analysis of key messages in Ultras’ produced materials such as chants, graffiti and banners that attempt to document the Ultras political engagement between 2007-2013; as well as project on the future role of the soccer fan groups in Egyptian politics and social change. Using the political processes model of social movements as a theoretical framework, this proposed research argues that the international ideological framework of the Ultras groups naturally drove them into dissent since their inception and placed them as a confrontational opponent to Egyptian security authorities, who always attempted to impose limits on the groups’ collective claim-making ability. However, it was changes that happened in several dimensions of the political opportunity and mobilizing structures with January 25th 2011 that rendered the political system as more vulnerable to challenge by the Ultras groups, and led to shaping their revolutionary and political role, change their repertoire of contention vis-à-vis state institutions, and allowed them to collectively act outside the stadia as a meaningful opposition to the repressive Egyptian regime and security apparatus in the years to follow.
Political Science Department
MA in Political Science
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Committee Member 1
El Sherif, Ashraf
Committee Member 2
El Mahdi, Rabab
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Ultras (Fans group)
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Soccer fans -- Egypt -- 21st century.
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Ahmed Mahmoud Taha, A.
(2015).The ultras in Egypt: political role before and after January 25th, 2011 [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Ahmed Mahmoud Taha, Amira. The ultras in Egypt: political role before and after January 25th, 2011. 2015. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.