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Football Matches at Cameroon Stadium Suspended After Deadly Crush

Voice of America
26 Jan 2022, 04:05 GMT+10

YAOUNDÉ - The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has suspended matches of the Africa Football Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament at Yaounde's Olembe Stadium after eight people were killed and scores injured in a stampede.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe announced the suspension of matches at the stadium at a press conference Tuesday in Cameroon's capital.

Before the deadly stampede at the Olembe Sadium Monday night, Motsepe said many irregularities were observed with the organization of the match between Cameroon and Comoros.

CAF president Patrice Motsepe speaks during a media conference at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, Jan. 25, 2022. CAF president Patrice Motsepe speaks during a media conference at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, Jan. 25, 2022.

He noted the stadium received thousands more fans than the CAF had authorized.

'There was an abnormal number of people including those who did not have tickets. Thousands of people more than what was expected did arrive in a manner that is not properly coordinated and governed. I went to see where the people lost their lives, and you see it is a gate and that gate was supposed to be opened, because if it was open, they [fans] would have walked through. And it was closed for inexplicable reasons. If that gate was opened as it was supposed to, we would not have had these loss of lives,' said Motsepe.

People assist victims of a stampede outside a stadium hosting an African Cup of Nations soccer game in Yaounde, Cameroon, Jan. 24, 2022. People assist victims of a stampede outside a stadium hosting an African Cup of Nations soccer game in Yaounde, Cameroon, Jan. 24, 2022.

The CAF had authorized the stadium to receive a maximum of 40,000 fans in the 60,000 seat stadium for matches of Africa's top soccer tournament, the Africa Football Cup of Nations (AFCON).

But Cameroonian police said more than 57,000 were at the stadium Monday night after fans pushed their way past security, leading to the deadly crush.

Despite the tragedy, Motsepe said the AFCON championship would continue.

All matches scheduled for the Olembe Stadium would instead be played at Yaounde's Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

Meanwhile, the CAF and Cameroonian authorities have launched investigations into what caused the deadly stampede.

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