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El Salvador’s Alianza sanctioned following stadium disaster

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

El Salvador’s Alianza FC has been given a one-year stadium ban after at least 12 people died following a stampede at the Estadio Cuscatlán during its match against Club Deportivo FAS on Saturday.

Alianza was the home team during the Primera División playoff quarter-final match at the stadium, which has a capacity of more than 44,000.

Following the disaster, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said that an investigation would be launched and the Salvadoran Football Federation (Fesfut) has now handed out sanctions to Alianza.

As well as being ordered to play matches behind closed doors for a year, Alianza has been fined $30,000 (£24,000/€28,000), which the club has until July 21 to pay. Fesfut said that Alianza, as the home team, was responsible for the events that occurred.

Club Deportivo FAS was also awarded a 2-0 victory after the match was abandoned after around 16 minutes. Play was suspended as supporters alerted players and officials to the stampede. Injured fans were carried on to the pitch, with more than 500 people treated.

Authorities said that initial reports suggested the stampede was caused by a crush of fans trying to enter the stadium. 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.

Following the match, 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.