Sports

One killed, 60 hurt in stampede ahead of Gulf Cup final in Iraq

January 19, 2023
Soccer fans attempt to enter the stadium to watch the final match of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup between Iraq and Oman, in Basra, Iraq Thursday.
Soccer fans attempt to enter the stadium to watch the final match of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup between Iraq and Oman, in Basra, Iraq Thursday.

BAGHDAD — One person was killed and 60 more were injured in a stampede ahead of a soccer match in the Iraqi city of Basra on Thursday, the state news agency INA reported.

The stampede took place near the Jaza’a Al Nakhla Stadium, where Iraq and Oman were expected to play in the Arabian Gulf Cup final.

After the stampede, Iraq’s interior ministry said that the stadium gates are now “closed” and that no more fans would be allowed to enter, reported the Iraqi News Agency.

Iraqi police asked non-ticket holders to refrain from heading to the stadium to avoid congestion, INA said.

“The numbers of fans are very large, and we do not want there to be cases of suffocation, and pressure to build on security forces,” Iraqi police spokesman Sa’ad Ma’an said in a statement published on INA.

This is the first time Iraq has hosted the Gulf Cup since 1979, when it was held in the capital Baghdad.

A video sent to CNN showed fans seated inside the stadium after the stampede. Seating areas hosting Iraqi fans were completely full, while the section designated to Omani fans was empty, pending their arrival later in the day. — CNN


January 19, 2023
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