When fans caused fear

August 30, 2014

The second friendly football match between Bangladesh Under-23 and Nepal Under-23 teams was delayed by an hour due to a pitch invasion, when a huge crowd entered the field by breaking the main gate of the Sylhet District Stadium on Friday.
This was the first time that Sylhet hosted an international football match which was scheduled to kick off at 5:00pm. But when the national anthems of the teams were being played, thousands of overenthusiastic football fans invaded the pitch as like ants.
More than 40,000 supporters entered the stadium whereas the seating capacity of the ground is not more than 25,000. The remaining crowd had to find a place inside the ground, inches away from the touchline.
The Sylhet Metropolitan Police initially provided only 300 policemen for the match but when the crowd was unrestrained, additional personnel were sent though that too seemed inadequate.
A game badly needs of some crowd presence, but the fans coming in their droves initially gave an encouraging sign.
But things turned sour soon as everything went out of control, raising a security fear for the visiting side.
Finding no other way, the local organisers, political activists and volunteers all started clearing the field before things settled down in an hour’s time.
It was learnt that the local organisers had sold additional 10,000 tickets than the ground capacity that resulted in the chaos.
Mohammed Rahmatullah, the additional deputy commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police, said that they tried their best to control the crowd.
‘All the top officials were here to control the situation but unfortunately the football loving people broke the gate and entered into the field,’ Rahmtullah told reporters on Friday.
BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag said that the match commissioner instructed the referee to start the game when he was certain that the crowd could be controlled.
‘Actually we were informed earlier that the local organisers took all the initiatives to restrict the crowd but they had nothing to do when thousands of fans broke the gate and entered the field,’ said Shohag.
Sylhet DFA president Mohiuddin Selim, however, claimed that no extra tickets than the original capacity were sold.
‘We sold 25,000 tickets according to the capacity of the stadium. But many general fans thought that they could get the tickets before the game and gathered around the venue before the game,’ said Salim.
‘It was not possible for the security forces to control the pressure of thousands of people. The security forces did a good job enabling us to start the game.’

-With New Age input

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