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Monday, June 2, 2008
Overcrowding blamed for deaths at Liberia match

Liberian football authorities believe overcrowding at one particular entrance led to the deaths of several fans at a World Cup qualifier against Gambia in Monrovia yesterday.

Up to eight people were killed at the Samuel K Doe Stadium in the capital and the Liberia Football Association (LFA) believe the deaths were caused mainly by suffocation at one of the ground's crowded gates.

The secretary general of the LFA George Williams admitted his association were responsible, but said the situation could have been much worse.

'Generally, we know we had a situation where there were more people at the game than the stadium could cater for,' he said.

'The repercussions were that there was overcrowding at a particular gate and that then led to suffocation, which is unfortunate.'

Williams however refuted claims that a metal bar collapsed causing fans from one level to drop onto another.

'That is not correct, it was just overcrowding at one particular gate,' he continued.

'People preferred the angle that the gate provided and so they were all just crammed in one area and that led to suffocation.

'We had fire trucks that were there to spill water over the crowd and that really helped the overall situation. Them spraying water over the people reduced the level of suffocation and also helped the crowd calm down.

'Yes, we (the LFA) are responsible, but things could have been worse.

'At the moment, we know that eight people have been killed. There are injuries as well, but these are not that significant.'

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