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A stampede by fans at a quarterfinals soccer match in the Salvadoran league has left 12 people dead and dozens more injured, officials said early Sunday.
The crush happened when fans pushed through one of the entrance gates during Saturday’s game between Alianza and Fas at Monumental stadium in Cuscatlan, which is about 25 miles northeast of the capital, Salvador soccer officials said.
“The game was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., but they closed the gate at 7 p.m. and left us outside (the stadium) with our tickets in our hands,” Alianza fan José Ángel Penado said. “People got angry. We asked them to let us in, but no. So they knocked the gate down.”
Civil Protection director Luis Amaya said about 500 people had been attended to and about 100 were taken to hospitals. At least two of the injured transported to hospitals were in critical condition.
“El Salvador is in mourning,” said a statement from the press office of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, which confirmed that at least 12 people had died.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Sunday in a speech to a World Health Organization meeting in Geneva, “I simply would like to express, of course, my condolences to all the people of El Salvador for this tragic incident.”
Play was suspended about 16 minutes into the match, when fans in the stands waving frantically began getting the attention of those on the field and carrying the injured out of a tunnel and down to the pitch.
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