FIFA to consider action over breaches of safety standards

Michel Zen-Ruffinen, FIFA general secretary, calls for improved safety at football matches Keystone Archive

Football clubs or associations which fail to meet international safety guidelines could face sanctions under new FIFA proposals being drawn up in the light of last week's soccer tragedy in South Africa.

This content was published on April 18, 2001 - 22:48

More than 40 people died following a stampede at Johannesburg's Ellis Park stadium, and world soccer's governing body says it is "almost sure" basic safety recommendations were not observed at the match.

FIFA's emergency committee, which met in Zurich on Wednesday, said it would now be seeking tougher penalties for associations, clubs or leagues which flout its safety guidelines.

"In this case we are almost sure that the basic FIFA recommendations had not been observed," said Michel Zen-Ruffinen, the organisation's general secretary.

"The match was apparently allowed to start even though the situation inside and outside the stadium was not under control. There was inadequate cooperation between stadium organisers and civil security forces. And the presence of metal fences inside the ground once again proved to be a deathtrap."

Zen-Ruffinen said FIFA's executive committee would be asked to decide whether future breaches of its safety guidelines should be penalised.

swissinfo with agencies

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