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England news

FA seeks safety assurances

June 7, 2010
By Soccernet staff

The Football Association has taken steps to ensure that "appropriate measures are in place" for Monday's friendly against Platinum Stars after a stampede occurred in a fixture between Nigeria and North Korea at the weekend.

A fence collapsed at the Makhulong stadium
GettyImagesA fence collapsed at the Makhulong stadium

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England are due to play the South African club side in the 20,000-capacity Moruleng stadium, 40 miles north of their training camp in Rustenburg, although only 12,000 people will be admitted to watch the final stage of Fabio Capello's preparation.

The FA has given tickets for the game away for free and is now reviewing arrangements after the trouble that afflicted the game between Nigeria and North Korea outside Johannesburg.

Sixteen people were hospitalised, including two policemen, following a stampede as fans attempted to gain entrance to Makhulong Stadium. Admission was free and it is reported that many more than the capacity of 10,000 tried to watch the game.

"Safety and security comes first," an FA spokesman said in relation to Monday's game against Platinum Stars. "We have met stadium management and we are in contact with the local organising committee to ensure the appropriate measures are in place."

Senior FA staff and security advisors met with World Cup organisers, police and other local agencies at the England hotel on Sunday to discuss the incident in the game between Nigeria and North Korea. It was decided that a further site visit should be undertaken at the Moruleng stadium.

Regarding the incident at the weekend, the Nigeria Football Federation has said it had no option but to choose the 10,000-capacity stadium as the venue for the game.

"We had no choice," technical committee chairman Taiwo Ogunjobi told Kick Off. "That was the only venue available to us. FIFA had taken control of all the stadia we could have used and we had to settle for this one because we needed to play this match."

England are hoping to use Monday's game in order to fine-tune their squad ahead of Saturday's opening game against USA in Rustenburg, but Capello's side have been warned they do not have an easy 90 minutes in store.

Platinum Stars defender Mbulelo Mabizela, who represented Tottenham between August 2003 and January 2005, has pledged to give supporters a real contest to enjoy.

"The way we are taking the game means it will be tough," Mabizela said. "We have just finished a closed season break. We have only been training for two weeks, but England have been training and playing all along and they are super fit.

"So really we don't stand a chance. But going there, rubbing shoulders with some great players, it will be great for our players. We will not go easy on them. It's a proper game for us.

"We will get stuck in, believe me. The crowd, the people who come to the ground, will expect a game. They will want entertainment, and it will be a competitive game."