Monday 30 March 2009

Football disasters

At least 22 football fans have been killed in a stampede at the Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualifying match against Malawi in Abidjan. As with the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, it seems that latecomers, anxious not to miss the start of the game, pressed in on those already inside the ground.

The stadium had recently been refurbished, but a wall collapsed and there was panic, with some reporting that police fired tear gas to try to control the crowd. The game went ahead and the Ivory Coast won 5-0.

Africa’s worst football disaster came in 2001 at the end of a local derby between two Accra teams in Ghana. Supporters of the losing side mounted a demonstration, and police fired tear gas. As spectators tried to flee from the stadium, they found many of the exits locked. A total of 126 people died.

The worst football disaster of all happened in Lima, Peru in 1964, when more than 300 were killed in a riot over a disallowed goal. See also my blog of January 13th.

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