Fifa fines ivory coast

ZURICH - Ivory Coast have been fined and told by Fifa to cut capacity at Abidjan's Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium after at least 19 people were killed during a stampede there before a World Cup qualifier against Malawi in March.

ZURICH - Ivory Coast have been fined and told by Fifa to cut capacity at Abidjan's Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium after at least 19 people were killed during a stampede there before a World Cup qualifier against Malawi in March.

Fifa's disciplinary committee also ordered extra crowd control measures outside the stadium for next month's game at home to neighbours Burkina Faso, soccer's world governing body said on Wednesday.

However, Fifa stopped short of imposing a home ban on the West Africans.

"For the World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso in Abidjan on September 5 2009, the capacity of the stadium will be restricted to 20000 spectators," Fifa said.

"Externally, a mandatory traffic control cordon will be established at least 1km away from the stadium itself, and a spectator control cordon will be established between 100m and 200m from the stadium in order to filter the access of spectators. The total capacity of the stadium (34600) will only be allowed in subsequent matches if the above-mentioned measures are applied for each match.

"All future matches will not be allowed to kick off until the designated Fifa security officer is satisfied with all aspects of stadium safety and security."

The decision also mentioned that, in the event of any similar incidents, Fifa would have no choice but to impose more severe sanctions on the Ivorian Football Association.

Fifa said the association would have to pay a fine of 50000 Swiss francs (R359871) and Fifa itself would donate double that amount to victims of the tragedy.

Ivorian government officials at the time blamed the tragedy on fans without tickets trying to get into the ground.

Ivory Coast won the game against Malawi 5-0.

Riots and crushes are common at African soccer stadiums, which are frequently overcrowded.

Last September 11 people were killed in a stadium riot in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

South Africa is spending several billion rand building new venues and infrastructure for the 2010 World Cup finals. - Reuters

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