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Too much joy: a glass barrier collapses and the Gulf Cup final touches the tragedy

Wounded fans await treatment after a glass barrier broke at the end of the Gulf Cup of Nations 2017 final football match between Oman and the UAE at the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Stadium in Kuwait City on January 5, 2018. (Photo: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/Getty Images)
by Gianni Merlo, AIPS President, La Gazzetta dello Sport

KUWAIT CITY, January 6, 2018 - A glass barrier collapsed on Friday night at the Gulf Cup final in Kuwait’s Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium shortly after Oman beat the United Arab Emirates 5-4 in penalty shootout to claim the title and around 40 people were injured, 5 with serious injuries, but their conditions were stable in the morning.

The fall - The accident occurred when the players of Oman went under the stands were their fans were exploding of joy. The crowd has pushed against the glass barriers that cannot stand the hit and the first line of supporters have fallen to the ground with a jump from about a 2-meters altitude. Luckily nobody was standing under the stands, if that the tragedy could be very big, because the glass falling on somebody could cause terrible injuries. The rescues were immediate.

The history - The stadium, a kind of twin of the Arsenal Stadium in London, has the capacity of 60 000 spectators and it was finished in 2009, but has had a troubled life because of some problems in the very modern structure and it was officially inaugurated in 2015. In the same year, FIFA handed Kuwait a two-years ban due to the government intervention in the work of the football associations of the country that was lifted just last December.

The stadium has been reopened for this tournament and was full in the first three matches of group stage as it was home of Kuwait national team.

Around 45 000 spectators attended yesterday’s final, many of them arrived on special flights from Oman and Emirates. The fans made a great show, but the joy has turned into a drama, because unfortunately not only violence can create tragedy in the stadia, but also too much passion…The Kuwait government has opened an investigation.


Omani fans stand behind a broken glass barrier at the end of the Gulf Cup of Nations 2017 final football match between Oman and the UAE at the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Stadium in Kuwait City on January 5, 2018. (Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Amiens accident - A similar tragedy has occurred on September 30 in Amiens in France, when Amiens' Ligue 1 clash with Lille was abandoned after a stadium barrier collapsed, seriously injuring three supporters out of 20.

A barrier at the front of the stand housing away supporters collapsed as fans celebrated a goal by Lille's Fode Ballo Toure, just after15 minutes of the match and the drop was only 1 meter, compared with the 2 meters at Jaber Stadium.

Security - The security issue is very important and now many facilities must be revised, because accidents as these two can occur in many other stadia.

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