El Salvador police arrest soccer club officials after stadium stampede leaves 12 fans dead
Salvadoran police have arrested the president of football club Alianza, along with other club officials and stadium staff, in connection with a stampede that left 12 fans dead last weekend.
The attorney general’s office said on Thursday that Alianza president Pedro Hernández and the club’s head of security Edwin Abarca Ventura were among several people arrested. It was not immediately known who their lawyers were.
They were due to make their first court appearances in the coming days and could face charges of manslaughter, causing injury and public havoc.
EL SALVADOR FOOTBALL STADIUM STAMPEDE LEAVES 12 DEAD AND HUNDREDS INJURED: OFFICIALS
Authorities said hundreds of fans were furious on Saturday night when they were barred from entering the stadium despite having tickets. They pushed to knock down a front door, and people were crushed and suffocated from the pressure.
Prosecutors believe the game’s organizers illegally sold more tickets than they should have. National Civil Police chief Mauricio Arriaza Chicas said they were also investigating fan groups organized by the club.
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The game was still in the first period when the players on the field began to look towards the bleachers. Unconscious fans were carried out of an entrance tunnel and onto the pitch where others frantically tried to revive them.
Earlier this week, the Salvadoran Football Federation’s disciplinary committee ruled that Alianza would play without fans for a year and pay a $30,000 fine.
On Wednesday, the federation and the first professional division announced that the season was over. “Our priority will be to ensure that security measures are reinforced at football events,” they said in a statement.