FIFA’s chief offered his condolences Sunday after a “tragic” stampede left 12 people dead at an El Salvador stadium where football fans had gathered to watch a local tournament.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives after the tragic incidents that have taken place in El Salvador,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.
Authorities said initial reports pointed to a crush of fans who tried to enter Cuscatlan Stadium in the Central American country’s capital San Salvador to watch a match between teams Alianza and FAS on Saturday.
The match was suspended as emergency personnel evacuated people from the stadium, where hundreds of police officers and soldiers gathered as ambulance sirens wailed.
Carlos Fuentes, a spokesman for the emergency services group Comandos de Salvamento, said they had treated more than 500 people after the crush.
About 100 people in serious condition had been taken to hospital, some showing signs of asphyxia and other types of trauma, he said.
The stampede apparently started after a stadium gate fell, causing people to crowd together, he said.
At least two of the injured were in critical condition, according to police.
“Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected, as well as with the people of the Republic of El Salvador, the Concacaf Confederation, the Salvadoran Football Association, and the Primera Division de Futbol de El Salvador, at this difficult time,” Infantino said.
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