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Sunday, 23 April, 2000, 22:42 GMT 23:42 UK
Liberia soccer crush kills three
George Weah
Liberian star George Weah played against Chad
At least three spectators are reported to have died in a stampede at a World Cup football match in the Liberian capital Monrovia.

Officials said thousands of fans forced their way into the overcrowded national stadium, which has a capacity of 35,000.

Many fans climbed barbed wire fences and overpowered police and soldiers as they tried to get in to see the West African state's qualifier against Chad.

Red Cross officials said three people suffocated to death in the crush.

Several other people were seriously injured.

Goalless draw

The match itself finished 0-0. Liberia goes into the next round because of its 1-0 win in the first leg in Chad.

During the game, some fans tried to storm the pitch but were beaten back by troops. Many in the crowd had been waiting in the hot sun for more than eight hours.

Presidential warning


President Charles Taylor
President Charles Taylor ordered ministers to attend the match
Liberian President Charles Taylor had hyped up the game earlier in the week, warning government officials that their jobs could be on the line if they did not attend.

"Any government minister who is not at that field that day will be in trouble," President Taylor said.

Liberia fielded all of its Europe-based players, including 1995 world player of the year George Weah, who now plays for Chelsea.

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