Stadium disaster claims lives at football World Cup qualifier match in Ivory Coast

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

the disaster occurred at Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
Image: Zenman.

A stadium disaster has claimed well over a dozen lives in the Ivory Coast. A crush, which may have occurred after a wall collapse, took place today at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan and according to interior minister Desire Tagro killed 22 people and wounded 132 others.

Different sources put the dead at 19. "We have 19 dead and many seriously injured," a member of the military told Reuters. The Sports Minister gave this version of events: "Spectators who did not buy tickets were jostling before the match. They smashed one of the main gates of the stadium. They were trampled." Tagro also said that fans trying to get in were crushed.

According to Sky Sports, a wall collapse caused the fatalities while the injured were hurt when pushing spectators caused a panic which became a stampede. 50,000 people had turned up to watch a qualifying match for the football 2010 World Cup between Ivory Coast and Malawi. The Associated Press also said that police used tear gas in an effort to control the crowd.

The match was sold out due to low-price tickets. The game went ahead despite the pre-match incident and the Ivory Coast side won 5-0.