Egyptian Tragedy SadnessChris Patzelt
The scenes in Egypt brought back memories of the tragedies at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium and our own tragedies in Bradford and Hillsborough. Our thoughts and sympathies go to the Egyptian nation in general and in particular to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and all those injured in the tragedy.
The Egyptian authorities will no doubt carry out a very vigorous investigation into the causes of the tragedy and it would be wrong at this early stage to try to judge from a distance the causes of why so many people died and were injured. They will no doubt look at the safety and security control and management systems which were in place including policing and stewarding of the match. They will also no doubt look at the Stadium design safety features such as means of escape and flow routes of crowds in a panic situation.
The UK has had to learn from our own football disasters and the Egyptian authorities whilst examining the causes of this tragedy will hopefully also learn from it to prevent any such incident in the future. Experience has shown that football tragedies are not normally attributed to one single factor but a combination of factors all coming together and combining at the wrong time.
The Football Safety Officers Association has since 1992 been in the forefront of the development of safe stadium and safe football spectator management. We would be pleased to offer any assistance and advice to the Egyptian Authorities on how such a tragedy might have been prevented and what measures could be introduced to prevent any similar occurrence in the future.
This is yet another sad occasion for the world of football and only goes to prove that ‘Complacency is the enemy of safety’. It is why members of the Football Safety Officers Association spend their lives working tirelessly to ensure our past tragedies never again visit us.