FA put safety first for friendly

07 June 2010 08:58

The Football Association have vowed not to take any risks with player and supporter safety ahead of England's friendly against the Platinum Stars on Monday in the wake of Sunday's stampede at a similar match between Nigeria and North Korea.

Sixteen people were hospitalised when fans surged to gain entry to the match at the Makhulong Stadium in the township of Tembisa. Tickets for that match, as with England's game on Monday, were free, and there have been concerns of a repeat. FA officials spent Sunday evening in talks with local organisers, and they are confident adequate measures are in place, but still insisted no risks would be taken.

"Safety and security come first," a spokesman told The Times. "We have met the stadium management and we are in contact with the local organising committee to ensure appropriate measures are in place."

FIFA on Sunday night insisted the stampede should not heighten safety fears for the finals themselves.

After expressing their sadness at events, FIFA were quick to point out the world governing body were not responsible for the organisational chaos which ensued less than a week before the finals get under way.

A statement read: "FIFA and the Organising Committee (OC) of the 2010 FIFA World Cup have been informed by the South African Police Services (SAPS) about the incidents which have taken place on the occasion of the friendly match between Nigeria and Korea DPR.

"FIFA and the OC would like to first wish a prompt recovery to those who have been affected by these incidents.

"In addition, FIFA and the OC would like to reiterate that this friendly match has no relation whatsoever with the operational organisation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for which we remain fully confident.

"Contrary to some media reports, FIFA had nothing to do with the ticketing of this game."

Source: PA