SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan said the Ellis Park disaster in which 43 people lost their lives on 11 April 2001 in one of the country’s darkest sporting day during the league match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, should never happen again.
Commemorating 20 years since that horrific incident, Dr Jordaan said SAFA and the football family will forever remember the Ellis Park 43 with a heavy heart.
The Ellis Park disaster was the worst football disaster ever experienced in the country and came 10 years after the Orkney disaster in which 42 fans perished in a match that also featured Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The year 2001 was not a good year for African football as in the same year, 127 fans were crushed to death in Accra, Ghana while a number of other disasters occurred around the African continent.
These disasters forced FIFA to look closely at the stadium safety as well as safety of the football fans.
Dr Jordaan said as a result of these disasters, FIFA made safety of the stadiums a must during the construction of the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums.
Some of these safety measures included that:
- All stadiums should have 360 degrees uninterrupted view
- All stadiums seating should be numbered and that each ticket should have a corresponding seat
- There should be a pre-sale of all match tickets going forward
- The entry and exit to and from stadiums are properly managed
As a result, Dr Jordaan said there was not a single incident reported during the successful 2010 FIFA World Cup with regards to safety of fans.
‘’The loss of so many lives on that day (11 April 2001) remains a painful experience and should never happen again. Their spirit remains with us and we remember them together with members of their families.
“As a result, SAFA has built some of the safest stadiums not only in Africa but in the world to make sure that we don’t lose another football fan again,’’ concluded Dr Jordaan.
‘’We continue to remember those who passed away on the day.’’