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May 19, 2014

Overcrowding blamed for barrier injuries

Osasuna president Miguel Archanco has blamed the incident in which 10 Osasuna supporters were taken to hospital after a crowd barrier gave way against Real Betis on too many home fans getting into one area of the ground.

Osasuna fan injured in barrier collapse
Ten people were taken to hospital after the incident.

Play at El Sadar was stopped after 11 minutes, immediately after home striker Oriol Riera had put his side a goal in front to raise hopes of an unlikely relegation escape.

The game was held up for more than half an hour as medical staff treated injured fans who had fallen onto the pitch from the Graderio Sur section of the ground. Security staff attempted to remove the broken barrier and ensure that it was safe for play to continue.

A statement posted on the official Osasuna website said 68 people were hurt, with 10 of those being taken to hospital. The worst reported injury was a broken leg.

Archanco told AS the incident had happened when fans with tickets for other parts of the ground gained access to the standing area.

"The behaviour of the mass begins with the behaviour of each individual," he said. "I saw that there were a lot of people, but if you go in with the security guards then there is three times the trouble. The responsibility is to each person, the risk exists. Today nothing more happened than a broken leg, but something more serious could have happened."

As soon as the incident took place, Betis midfielder Alfred N'Diaye approached to help, and TV pictures showed the Senegal international carrying an injured boy away for treatment.

On-loan Sunderland midfielder N'Diaye, 24, told L'Equipe: "I went there [to the affected area] immediately. I saw a little boy who wasn't in a good way. I took him to our doctor to get him looked after. There were not enough people to help, so my teammates and I tried to help.

"In those situations, you don't think about football. There were some minor injuries. I saw two people who were in a bad way. In the dressing room after the game, everyone was talking about it. I've just seen the pictures again, and you can see that we were a little anxious. We're relieved no one was killed and there were only minor injuries."

Osasuna defender Jordan Loties, 29, said the incident had brought back memories of the collapse of a temporary stand at Bastia's Stade Furiani in May 1992, in which 18 people died and more than 2,300 were injured.

"There were a lot of people with leg injuries," he told L'Equipe. "With the firemen, the ambulance people, everyone running everywhere... in the space of a few seconds, I had flashbacks of Furiani. We were all very afraid."

The game was restarted when the pitch had been cleared, and was completed with no further incident. The other games involving the last day relegation battle were delayed by 35 minutes at half-time so that all could end at the same time.

Osasuna went on to win 2-1, but were nevertheless relegated after 14 consecutive Primera Division seasons because of results elsewhere.

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