Stampede in stadium in Zambia and helicopter crash in Sierra Leone claim numerous victims
© AFP

The worldwide football community has suffered two tragedies in Africa over the past weekend.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was deeply saddened by the two disasters: "Our football family is greatly distressed to hear of the misfortune that has occurred in Sierra Leone and Zambia. Our pain at these losses is all the greater given that they both occurred only a few days after we had come together for the 57th FIFA Congress in Zurich."

Last Saturday, 2 June 2007, 12 fans lost their lives in a stampede following a CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Zambia and Congo. This was followed by the death of the Togolese Minister for Sport, several officials from the Togolese football association and other passengers on Sunday, 3 June 2007 when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed in Freetown (Sierra Leone) as they returned from an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Sierra Leone and Togo.

FIFA and its President have expressed their heartfelt condolences to the associations affected, their national governments, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and relatives of the victims. In a telephone conversation with CAF President and FIFA Vice-President Issa Hayatou, FIFA President Blatter was also informed of the steps being taken by CAF and the Zambian government to determine the causes of the stadium tragedy.