El Salvador’s Alianza: Football club punished for stadium crush that killed 12

May 23, 2023  -BBC News –El Salvador’s football federation has imposed a fine and a 12-month stadium ban on Alianza FC after a deadly crush at the Cuscatlán stadium in the capital, San Salvador, on Saturday.

Alianza was less than 20 minutes into its match against Club Deportivo Fas when fans trying to enter the stadium tore down one of the access gates.

Twelve people died and scores more were injured as crowds forced their way in.

Alianza will have to play its home matches behind closed doors for a year.

The disciplinary committee of El Salvador’s football association said Alianza, the home team in Saturday’s match, was to blame for the incident.

The committee found that security measures and access control to the stadium, which has a capacity of more than 40,000 people, “were obviously insufficient and deficient”.

Alianza “did not adopt measures conducive to preventing the events, or did so negligently”, the committee said in its report.

The first division club will have to pay a fine of $30,000 (£24,200) and their rivals, Santa Ana-based Fas, were declared winners of the second leg of the quarter finals, which was being played at the time of the accident.

Local media reported that access to the stadium was progressing very slowly on Saturday causing hundreds of fans to congregate at the only gate leading to the most popular area in the stadium.

Civil Protection chief Mauricio Arriaza said that “400 to 500 people” were crammed into the space in front of the gate.

Footage of the match shows distraught fans running on to the pitch to alert players to the crush.

Later, people can be seen lying on the pitch while others try to give them water and use T-shirts to fan air at them.

Salvadorean President Nayib Bukele said there would be a thorough investigation into the incident.

“Everyone will be investigated: the teams, the officials, the stadium, those who sold the tickets, the league, the federation, etc. Whoever was responsible, they won’t get away scot free.”

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