ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter has criticized the dismissal of Egypt's football federation leaders, calling the move "direct interference'' by the Cairo government in football matters.

Blatter says he will seek to have the officials reinstated.

Blatter spoke Sunday in the Paraguay capital, where he attended a special congress of South American football officials aimed at toughening up rules against government intervention in football in the region.

The president of Egypt's soccer federation and his board of directors resigned Saturday, having already been dismissed by the country's prime minister following the riot at a game that left more than 70 dead.

The violence began when Al-Masry fans stormed the field following their team's 3-1 win against Cairo-based Al-Ahly and began attacking their rivals. Hundreds of Al-Ahly fans were driven into a narrow stadium exit where they were crushed against a locked gate.

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