Pretoria – FIFA President Sepp Blatter has described Wednesday’s football stampede in Egypt as a black day for football.
According to media reports, 74 people died including one police officer, when fans of Al-Masry stormed the field following a 3-1 win against Al-Ahly in a match played in Port Said.
The Interior Ministry said a further 248 people were injured, among them 14 police officers.
“This is a black day for football. Such a catastrophic situation is unimaginable and should not happen,” said Blatter.
“I am very shocked and saddened to learn … that a large number of football supporters have died or been injured following a match in Port Said. My thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives this evening.”
Al-Masry supporters hurled sticks and stones as they chased players and fans from the rival team, who ran toward the exits and up the stands to escape.
The President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou, expressed shock at the tragedy and sent his message of condolences to the Egyptian Football Association.
“African football is in a state of mourning,” he said.
A minute’s silence will be observed for victims during the quarter final matches of the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Egypt, meanwhile, has declared three days of morning.
The Egyptian capital, Cairo, has served as the headquarters of the continent’s soccer governing body since its inception in 1957. – BuaNews