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Newz Forum: SOCCER: Tragedy strikes at World Cup qualifier in Togo

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posted on Oct, 11 2004 @ 02:53 PM
Four spectators died at Sunday's World Cup qualifying match between Togo and Mali. Eight fans were also injured, three seriously, at Kegue Stadium in Togo after a power failure led to a wild rush to the exits.

Togo won the match, 1-0, but the jubilation turned to horror as panic set in when the lights went out. Five of the additional eight injured spectators have been discharged from the hospital, while three others remain in critical condition.

"The global football family is in mourning today for this tragic loss of life," FIFA president Joseph Blatter said. "The game of football is about joy, but today I feel a great sadness. Such terrible incidents must serve to re- double our efforts to keep safety and security a top priority at all football matches."

Rumors also tabbed Guinea as the location of more fatalities. Several casualties were reported by some media sources at the Guinea and Morocco match, but FIFA has publicly declared the reports unfounded.

"Initial reports of spectator deaths at the Guinea-Morocco preliminary match proved to be unfounded," FIFA said in a written statement. "FIFA and the Guinean Football Federation officials confirmed that the rumor was propagated after a number of spectators without tickets were injured following an attempt to illegally enter the stadium by climbing over a wall. However, there were no fatalities."

Fan behavior remained a major problem at the qualifying matches throughout the world. There were reported crowd disturbances in Africa, Europe and Central America. Plus, racists chants were apparently directed towards several Dutch players during their match at Macedonia.



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