Multiple deaths following El Salvador stadium disaster

Featured image credit: JMRAFFi/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has said that an investigation will be launched after at least 12 people died following a stampede at the Estadio Cuscatlán in the capital city of San Salvador.

The stadium, which has a capacity of more than 44,000, was hosting a Primera División playoff quarter-final match between Alianza FC and Club Deportivo FAS on Saturday.

The match was suspended after around 16 minutes as supporters alerted players and officials to the stampede. Injured fans were carried on to the pitch, with more than 500 people treated following the incident.

Authorities in El Salvador have said that initial reports suggest the stampede was caused by a crush of fans trying to enter the stadium, the AFP news agency reports. Carlos Fuentes, a spokesman for emergency services group Comandos de Salvamento, said that the stampede was caused by a stadium gate falling, which led to people crowding together.

Posting on Twitter, Bukele said that an investigation would be carried out into the disaster amid reports that fake tickets had been sold. “Everyone will be investigated: teams, managers, stadium, ticket office, league, federation, etc. Whoever the culprits are, they will not go unpunished.”

The Salvadoran Football Federation (Fesfut) said that it “deeply regrets” the tragedy and expressed solidarity with the families of people who were killed or injured. The governing body has requested a report into what happened.

FIFA, football’s global governing body, sent its condolences to those affected. A minute’s silence was held before all four matches held at the U20 World Cup in Argentina yesterday (Sunday).

CONCACAF, football’s governing body in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, said in a statement: “The safety of participants and fans attending football matches is of the utmost importance. The confederation will fully support any effort aimed at clarifying what happened and implementing measures to prevent this type of incident in the future.”

The incident comes after 135 people died following a crush during a football match at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Indonesia back in October.