Beckham stampede injures seven

AFP, SHANGHAI

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 20

Seven people were hurt in a stampede yesterday as hundreds of fans rushed to see soccer superstar David Beckham at an event in Shanghai, police and local media said.

Beckham, who was visiting the city in his role as ambassador to the troubled Chinese Super League, expressed hope that the injured would recover quickly after the event had to be called off.

The stampede occurred when hundreds of students and spectators tried to rush onto the soccer pitch at Tongji University in northeastern Shanghai, the Xinmin Evening News said.

“Nearly 1,000 spectators charged to open the gate at the same time, causing a stampede,” the paper said on its microblog.

Police said that seven people had been injured, including three police officers and two university security guards, all of whom suffered cuts and bruises.

Two students, including a Japanese exchange student, also sustained minor injuries, police said in a statement.

“I was standing in the second row to take a picture of Beckham and then people started to push against each other,” a woman said in a video posted by the Xinmin Evening News.

“Someone in the front fell, but people at the back were still pushing, so I fell over too. I couldn’t breathe. I was really almost dying,” she said.

In a posting on his account on social media site Sina Weibo Beckham apologized for the event’s cancelation.

He was scheduled to play with the university’s team and the youth team of a local soccer club.

“I had an incredible response from everyone at Shanghai Tongji University today. Sorry I couldn’t get out on the pitch to see the teams. It was impossible to get through the massive crowds,” he said. “I heard there were a few injuries, hope the fans are OK and I wish them a speedy recovery.”