Fans injured before Nigeria and North Korea friendly

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
south africa football fan

(Photo: Coca-Cola South Africa)

The safety of supporters in South Africa has been called into question after a number of fans were injured at a friendly match between Nigeria and North Korea yesterday.

The World Cup warm-up game took place at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa, a region between Pretoria and Johannesburg. The ground’s capacity is 10,000 however due to the large appeal of the match, crowds began to gather in force to access the stadium.

South African police had originally closed the gates before the decision was taken to reopen them, inevitably leading to a stampede of eager supporters. All of the entrances were closed off as the match got underway.

Reports suggested 20 people were hurt and a handful seriously injured, including a policeman.

FIFA have been quick to remove themselves from the chaotic scenes, insisting the friendly was organised independently and tickets were distributed by private parties.

In a statement, a FIFA spokesman said: “FIFA and the Organising Committee (OC) would like to first wish a prompt recovery to those who have been affected by these incidents.”

“In addition, FIFA and the OC would like to reiterate that this friendly match has no relation whatsoever with the operational organisation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for which we remain fully confident.

Contrary to some media reports, FIFA had nothing to do with the ticketing of this game.”

Meanwhile, the English FA is understood to have taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of supporters ahead of this afternoon’s friendly against the Platinum Stars.

“We (the FA) take safety very seriously,” said an FA spokesman.

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