FIFA not worried about stampede


JOHANNESBURG, June 7- World Cup organisers said Monday that a stampede outside a warm-up match had nothing to do with FIFA and sought to reassure fans on security ahead of the tournament's kick-off in four days time.Sixteen people were injured outside the gates of a stadium east of Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon as ticketless fans tried to force their way into a pre-World Cup friendly between Nigeria and North Korea.

"This friendly match has no relation whatsoever with the operational organisation 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," the sports world’s governing body added.

Officials said one police officer was seriously injured and 15 people sustained minor injuries in the stampede at Makhulong stadium in Tembisa township east of Johannesburg.

Speaking at the ground, police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Opperman said that 8,000 free tickets had been distributed ahead of the match but other fans without tickets had tried to push their way in.

"There were supposed to be only 8,000 tickets — they were all free," he told AFP.

The incident in the build-up to the game came just hours after South African President Jacob Zuma and FIFA chief Sepp Blatter announced that everything was ready for the tournament — the first World Cup to be played on African soil.