In a heart-wrenching turn of events, the highly anticipated soccer clash between Allianza and FAS, known as the El Clsico of Salvadoran soccer, transformed intoa fateful duel marked by tragedy.
The Cuscatln stadium, usually a place of excitement and celebration, became a scene of death and desolation as 12 people lost their lives during the match. The entire football community mourns this devastating incident.
This encounter was the second leg of the quarterfinals, with FAS holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg. Allianza faced the arduous task of making a comeback on their home turf, in front of their passionate supporters. The call for fans to rally behind their team was resounding, and a grand entrance was expected, transforming the stadium into a cauldron of enthusiasm. However, the predictions went awry, and fans flooded in en masse, leading to irrational overcrowding. Too many individuals sought space in an already limited area, as kick-off approached.
The largest section of the stadium, the general sun sector, was jam-packed with 13,000 people. Other sections were also filled with passionate Allianza supporters. The sections designated for FAS fans were also at full capacity but not overcrowded. To respect the privacy of those involved, the identities of the victims remain anonymous, as per their families’ wishes.
According to estimates by the Salvadoran Police, approximately 8,000 people were outside the stadium, desperately waiting to gain entry through any means necessary. Meanwhile, the game had already begun, and the push and shove started to intensify. The surge of the crowd exerted force on the aged gates, which were closed to prevent a stampede. Tragically, the gates gave way under the immense pressure of the masses, resulting in the horrific incident at the stadium entrances. The Cuscatln, inaugurated in 1976, witnessed this calamity unfold before its eyes.
Images of the tragedy in El Salvador depict a grim reality. “Many people began to force open the gates to enter inside. They fell, tripped, and others trampled over them, oblivious to the suffering beneath their feet. Chaos ensued as people pushed and struggled,” reveals an anonymous source. “At around the 15th minute, we witnessed a group of people pleading for help. The game came to a halt when a fan managed to break through and request assistance.”
“Following that, medical and rescue teams, along with firefighters, rushed to the scene to assess the situation. People were suffocating, and oxygen tanks were provided. Ambulances arrived, but the overwhelming number of casualties required more emergency vehicles. Over 500 individuals had to receive treatment, with injuries ranging from minor to severe. The sight was harrowing, with people bruised, pulled, and crushed,” the witness recounts, haunted by the memories.
Lack of security and counterfeit tickets plunge Salvadoran soccer match into chaos and tragedy
“The police presence was insufficient for such an incident, compounded by the prevalence of counterfeit ticket sales. Some individuals resorted to overselling tickets, while others had fraudulent ones printed. Instead of queuing for legitimate tickets, people purchased from unauthorized vendors, only to discover they were duped. Frustration and anger swelled among those left outside, some of whom were intoxicated, leading to disorder on the pitch,” explains the witness to MARK, a local news outlet.
Chaos reigned supreme, and lifeless bodies lay strewn across the Cuscatln stadium, while the board members, coaching staff, and players were evacuated to a safe location. As the night wore on, with furious fans pounding on the stadium doors from outside, nobody dared to leave. The match was inevitably suspended, awaiting a resolution on how to proceed, but at this moment, the game’s outcome became inconsequential.
Twelve lives were tragically cut short in pursuit of a soccer match, an event that can never be justified. The world of football mourns the loss and searches for answers in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.