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El Salvador ends football tournament early after deadly stampede

Citing safety concerns, El Salvador’s football authorities announced they were canceling the country’s Clausura national tournament.

Twelve people were killed in a stampede at a football match between clubs Alianza and FAS at Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador on May 20, 2023
Twelve people were killed in a stampede at a football match between clubs Alianza and FAS at Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador on May 20, 2023 - Copyright AFP Jacques DEMARTHON
Twelve people were killed in a stampede at a football match between clubs Alianza and FAS at Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador on May 20, 2023 - Copyright AFP Jacques DEMARTHON

Citing safety concerns, El Salvador’s football authorities announced Wednesday they were canceling the country’s Clausura national tournament following a stampede at a game over the weekend that killed 12.

“This measure has been taken in this way in response to the seriousness of the events, and the need to guarantee the safety conditions of the sports venues,” the national football federation and Liga Mayor clubs said in a statement.

“We have decided to terminate the 2022-2023 national championship of El Salvador,” the parties said, with the football federation adding that “there will be no champion.”

The tournament had only covered the first leg of the quarterfinals.

Twelve people died and hundreds were injured in the crush at first-division Alianza’s stadium on Saturday, which was thought to have begun when a gate fell at the stadium in the capital San Salvador.

In addition to the 12 killed, about 500 people were treated for various injuries at the scene, while 88 were hospitalized. Most have since been discharged.

In order to determine the three clubs that will represent El Salvador in the CONCACAF international tournament, the football federation and Liga Mayor teams are proposing that the champion and runner-up of last year’s Apertura 2022 tournament attend, which are the FAS and Jocoro clubs, respectively.

The third participant would be the club Aguila for being the “team with the highest number of points” in the regular season of the 2022-2023 Apertura and Clausura tournaments.

CONCACAF will have to approve the decision.

El Salvador’s football federation on Tuesday ordered Alianza to play its home matches behind closed doors for a year, blaming the club for the incident at its Cuscatlan stadium.

Alianza must play “without the attendance of local spectators for a period of one year” and pay a fine of $30,000 before July 21.

AFP
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