The president of the Senegalese league, Saer Seck, has expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of Saturday’s Stade Demba Diop disaster and has defended the role of the security forces in the tragedy.
Eight people were confirmed dead and a further 49 injured after a wall collapsed following a fight between rival fans during the Senegalese League Cup final between US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour in Dakar.
Police used tear gas to disperse fans, prompting panic and, as supporters attempted to flee, a wall collapsed under pressure.
“On the security side, we took all precautions,” said LSFP President Seck, in quotes shared widely in the local media, “initially in separating the two groups of supporters to neutralise them.
“We hired agents of the security forces in their numbers, and now there were fights and a collapse.”
The disaster is the latest in a long string of stadium tragedies in African football. The Ellis Park Stadium disaster and the Accra Sports Stadium disaster cost 170 fans their lives in two incidents in the space of two months in 2001.
22 supporters died and over 100 were injured at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in the Ivory Coast in March 2009 ahead of a World Cup qualifier.
“[It’s] a great sadness for all of Senegalese football,” Seck added. “I present my condolences to the families of all of the victims that we were unable to revive.
“This is not my conception of football.”