BBC’s Jon Leyne: “You could see that the supporters of the Port Said team … charged onto the pitch”

At least 73 people have been killed in fan clashes following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said, state television reports.

The deaths occurred after supporters invaded the pitch following a match between top-tier clubs Masry and al-Ahly on Wednesday.

It is feared the death toll could rise as scores have been injured.

It is the biggest disaster in the country’s football history, said the Egyptian deputy health minister.

Some of the dead were security officers, the Associated Press quoted a morgue official as saying.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says it appears fans had taken knives into the stadium.

Our correspondent says the lack of the usual level of security in the stadium might have contributed to the clashes.

Police in Egypt have been keeping a much lower profile since last year’s popular protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power.

Bitter rivalry

Television pictures have shown images of crowds descending into the stadium, chasing rival fans and players.

Some were cornered in the stadium, parts of which were set on fire.

Egyptian fans are notoriously violent, says our correspondent, particularly supporters of al-Ahly known as the Ultras.

They have been heavily implicated in the political confrontations recently, our correspondent adds.

Wednesday’s violence broke out at the end of the match, which, unusually, the Port Said side Masry won 3-1.

As match ended, their fans flooded onto the pitch attacking Ahly players and fans.

All premier league matches have been cancelled and the newly-elected Egyptian parliament is to hold an emergency session on Thursday, state TV has announced.