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Four die in stampede at soccer game in Honduras

By Allen Cone
Members of the emergency team assist fans who were hurt at National Stadium before the soccer game between Motagua and Honduras Progreso in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Photo by Gustavo Amador/EPA
Members of the emergency team assist fans who were hurt at National Stadium before the soccer game between Motagua and Honduras Progreso in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Photo by Gustavo Amador/EPA

May 29 (UPI) -- Four people died and several others were injured in a stampede before a soccer game in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, national police and club officials said.

The deaths and injuries happened when fans tried to force their way into one section of the sold-out, 35,000-seat National Stadium on Sunday for a Honduran league championship between Motagua and Honduras Progreso, police said.

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Montagua club president Pedro Atala said false ticket sales contributed to the overflow crowd.

"First and foremost, our deepest condolences to the people who died outside the stadium, due to selling of fake tickets and an increase in the number of fans that the police didn't expect," Atala told Honduran TV. "We want to make clear, that at no point was there overselling of tickets. That is easy to prove."

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Police said they had 600 law enforcement officers at the stadium.

"To ensure order and safety of those attending the sporting event and avoiding violent events, in agreement with the authorities of the National League, it was decided to reinforce the control measures for the entry of fans into the stadium," a police statement said.

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The team said in a statement "all the ticket sales are supervised, and in this case approved, by the national commission for sports facilities [Conapid], which is an agency of the Honduras government."

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Atala posted on Twitter that security officials had recommended the match be played and not canceled because the stadium was already full.

After a minute of silence the game was played, with Montagua winning 3-0.

Atala tweeted afterward that "there is nothing to celebrate with what happened outside the stadium."

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