FIFA says Johannesburg stampede has no relation with organization, assures WC safety

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Johannesburg, June 7(ANI): FIFA, the governing body of football, has said that the stampede outside a warm-up match in Johannesburg had nothing to do with the association, and has reassured fans on security ahead of the tournament.

At least 16 people were injured and trampled underfoot, when thousands of ticketless fans stormed the gates of Johannesburg's Makhulong Stadium staging a friendly between Nigeria and North Korea.

"This friendly match has no relation whatsoever with the operational organization of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for which we remain fully confident," FIFA said in a statement.

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

As the situation deteriorated the gates were closed, causing more people to be crushed, which made it clear that the police were under-prepared.

"The crowd just overpowered me and I went down. People just fell over me." The Daily Star quoted one of the wounded, Japhta Mombelo, as saying.

Another, Princess Mbali, added: "They were just stepping on us. I thought I was dying. I was at the bottom."

Meanwhile, the Football Association (FA) has launched an urgent security review into Monday's friendly between England and South African club side Platinum Stars.

"After the incident at the Nigeria-North Korea game we called the organisers to highlight the need for measures to prevent any such rush or stampede at our game and have been assured security in and around the ground will be intensified," a FA spokesman said. (ANI)

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