The president of the Alianza de El Salvador club, Pedro Hernández, together with two directors of the club and two people in charge of the Cuscatlán stadium, were arrested on Thursday and charged with culpable homicide, culpable injury, and public disorder after the tragedy that occurred on Saturday during a soccer match that left 12 people dead, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The investigation revealed that the gates provided were not sufficient for the number of fans present and that they were not opened in time to ensure orderly and safe entry.
In addition, it was discovered that the organizers, having exhausted the available tickets, decided to illegally sell tickets issued for previous matches. This overbooking caused a human avalanche that resulted in loss of life and injuries and endangered the safety of the attendees.
Along with Pedro Hernández, the club’s security manager, Edwin Abarca Ventura, and the finance manager, Zoila Córdova, were arrested. The general manager of the company EDESSA, which manages the Cuscatlán stadium, Reynaldo Avelar Contreras, and the person in charge of the stadium keys, Samuel García Montano, were also arrested. The Public Prosecutor’s Office stated that those responsible for the tragedy have been identified.
The detainees will be presented before the courts and, if found guilty, could face up to 12 years in prison. The charges include culpable homicide, with a maximum sentence of four years; culpable injuries, with a maximum sentence of two years; and criminal mischief, with a maximum sentence of three to six years.
The stampede occurred during the second leg of the quarterfinal between Alianza and FAS, and in addition to the 12 deaths, it left 500 people receiving medical attention at the site and 88 people hospitalized with different traumas. The Salvadoran Soccer Federation sanctioned the Alianza club, declaring it the loser of the match and ordering it to play behind closed doors for one year. In addition, they must pay a fine of US$30,000.
In view of the seriousness of the facts, Fesfut and the Major League clubs decided to end the Clausura tournament, which was in the quarterfinal stage. In collaboration with FIFA and Concacaf, they will seek to implement better security protocols for future sporting events. No champion will be designated for the Clausura tournament. The Players United group expressed concern about the economic consequences of this decision for many people who depend on soccer.
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