Twelve people were killed in a stampede at a football match between clubs Alianza and FAS at Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador on May 20, 2023
San Salvador (AFP) - Officials of El Salvador’s Alianza Football Club and the Cuscatlan stadium were arrested Thursday and the remainder of the season-ending playoffs were cancelled after a weekend stampede killed 12.
The prosecutor’s office said Alianza president Pedro Hernandez, two club directors and two stadium officials were arrested and charged with manslaughter.
They will also be investigated for possible culpability for injuries suffered by stampede victims, and for “public havoc.”
Twelve people died and hundreds were injured in a crush at first-division Alianza’s stadium in the capital San Salvador on Saturday. It was thought to have started when a gate at the stadium fell.
“It is clear from the investigations carried out that the exits were not sufficient for the number of fans,” the prosecutor’s office said on its Twitter account.
Exit doors “were not opened with sufficient anticipation” for fans to leave the stadium safely, it added.
About 500 people were treated for various injuries at the scene, while 88 were hospitalized. Most have since been discharged.
On Wednesday, the Salvadoran football federation (Fesfut) and Liga Mayor clubs said the remainder of the 2022-23 national championship playoffs had been cancelled over safety concerns. The tournament was in the quarterfinal stage.
Fesfut said all parties were committed to ensuring “better protocols” for securing the safety of fans in the future.
A group called Jugadores Unidos (Players United) urged the federation to reconsider, citing the large number of people who economically depend on football matches.
The football federation on Tuesday ordered Alianza to play its home matches in an empty stadium for a year, blaming the club for the incident at its Cuscatlan stadium.
Alianza must also pay a fine of $30,000 before July 21.