FIFA asking for answers


NAIROBI, October 25 – FIFA on Monday asked Football Kenya Limited (FKL) to explain the circumstances that led to the deadly fan stampede at a league match between two top clubs in Nairobi at the weekend, officials said.

Seven fans were killed in the tragedy after the crowd scrambled to enter the Nyayo National stadium to watch the match between traditional rivals, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia on Saturday night.

FIFA’s demand for a report comes after Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga ordered a seven-day investigation into the stampede.

FKL secretary Titus Kasuve placed the blame on the two clubs who organised the league fixture.

"FIFA has asked for an explanation from us. But the two clubs must tell us clearly what happened because they were the ones in charge of organising the match," said Kasuve.

But Kenya Premier League (KPL) officials and the hosting club, Gor Mahia, denied any laxity on pre-match safety measures at the stadium where in 2005 one fan died and several people were injured during a World Cup qualifier between Kenya and Morocco.

"The KPL is concerned with the circumstances under which football fans of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards died or were injured on Saturday.

"We will fully cooperate in the fact-finding inquiry to establish the truth," KPL chairman, Elly Kalekwa, told a news conference.

"It is sad that this had to happen when fans were beginning to return to the stadium. This was our biggest turn-out of the season," he added.

An official in charge of match tickets said only 16,000 tickets were sold for the match. The stadium has a sitting capacity of 35,000 people.