Police in El Salvador have arrested the president of the Alianza soccer club, as well as other club officials and stadium workers, in connection with a riot that killed 12 fans last weekend.
The Attorney General’s Office said on Thursday that Alianza president Pedro Hernández and the club’s security chief Edwin Abarca Ventura were among several people arrested. It was not immediately clear who their lawyers were.
They were expected to make an initial court appearance in the coming days and could be charged with murder, causing injury and public nuisance.
EL SALVADOR FOOTBALL STADIUM STAMPEDE 12 DEAD AND HUNDREDS INJURED: OFFICIALS
Cuscatlan Stadium remains closed on May 21, 2023 after several people died in San Salvador, El Salvador. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)
Authorities said hundreds of fans were upset Saturday night when they were denied entry to the stadium despite having tickets. They pushed until a front door was thrown down, and people were crushed and suffocated under the pressure.
Prosecutors believe the organizers of the game illegally sold more tickets than necessary. The head of the Chicas National Civil Police, Mauricio Arriaza, said that fan groups organized by the club were also being investigated.
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The game was still in the first period on the field when the players started to look towards the stands. Unconscious fans were being pulled out of an entrance tunnel and others tried to revive them on the pitch.
Earlier this week, the Disciplinary Committee of the Salvadoran Football Federation decided that Alianza would play without fans for a year and pay a fine of 30,000 dollars.
On Wednesday, the federation and first division professionals announced the end of the season. “As a football event, it will be our priority to ensure that security measures are strengthened,” they said in a statement.