Club president, 4 others arrested in wake of deadly El Salvador soccer stadium stampede

San Salvador, May 25 (EFE).- The president of El Salvador’s Alianza FC soccer club and four other suspects have been arrested in connection with a stampede last weekend at this capital’s Cuscatlan Stadium that left 12 fans dead and hundreds injured, the Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.

Besides the club’s president, Pedro Hernandez, Alianza FC’s security and finance managers – Edwin Abarca Ventura and Zoila Cordova, respectively – were also taken into custody, the AG’s office said on Twitter.

The other two detainees are Reynaldo Avelar Contreras, manager of the company in charge of administration at Cuscatlan Stadium, and Samuel Garcia Montano, who was responsible for the stadium’s keys.

Those individuals will be charged in the coming days with culpable homicide, culpable injuries and causing public havoc, the AG’s office said.

The investigation showed that the amount of access gates for ticket holders was insufficient for the number of fans trying to get into the stadium and that the gates that were made available had not been opened early enough for orderly and safe entry, it added.

It also said the probe found that after all of the tickets for the match – a quarterfinal contest between Alianza and Futbolistas Asociados Santanecos (FAS) – had been purchased the organizers decided to illegally sell tickets that had been printed for earlier games.

The “negligence of organizers and their greed in selling excess tickets created a human avalanche that caused deaths and injuries and put the safety of the spectators at risk,” the AG’s office said.

For now, it is unclear if Attorney General Rodolfo Delgado or any other official from the AG’s office will hold a press conference to provide more details on the arrests and the investigation.

The initial court date for the detainees also has not been announced.

Last Saturday, Alianza FC and FAS squared off in the second leg of a quarterfinal contest that was part of the playoff phase of the Salvadoran first division’s Clausura tournament.

But play was suspended about 16 minutes into the match after the head referee was informed about the stampede in the southern part of the stadium.

All 12 people who died were fans of Alianza FC, the San Salvadoran club that was hosting the contest.

Alianza FC was hit with a one-year stadium ban and the remainder of the first division’s Clausura playoffs were canceled in the wake of the stampede, the deadliest sports tragedy in the Central American nation’s history. EFE


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