A bomb threat at the Estadio Saprissa in Costa Rica led to 12,000 fans being evacuated during a first division football game on Sunday.
The threat, which came from an anonymous phone call, turned out to be unfounded at the San Jose stadium, the second largest in the country. The tip warned that there was a bomb within the venue, leading the referee to stop the match with five minutes of the game remaining, according to reports in the Costa Rican press.
Players of Saprissa, who were winning 6-1 at the time, and opponent Grecia, immediately left the field, some gathering in the car park outside the stadium.
“A bomb threat was received at the stadium,” said Jose Pablo Molina, press chief for the union of Costa Rican clubs (UNAFUT). “Saprissa activated the security protocols and quickly evacuated the stadium. We couldn’t be irresponsible and continue a game after a threat that we don’t know is true or not.”
It is the first time the country has faced a bomb threat in a stadium, Costa Rica’s public security ministry confirmed to the El Desmarque newspaper. Police are reportedly still inspecting the area, though sniffer dogs ruled out the possibility of a bomb.
The incident occurred just three days prior to Costa Rica’s World Cup qualifying game against Mexico, which will take place on Tuesday in the nearby 35,000-capacity Estadio Nacional.
Costa Rica’s minister of public security Gustavo Mata tweeted that he had ordered increased security for Tuesday’s match, while the game between Saprissa and Grecia will be completed on Monday.