Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 14:53 UK

Ivorian jailed for match stampede

People carry an injured person after a stampede at a football stadium in  in Abijdjan, Ivory Coast ( 29 March 2009)
A reported 36,000 fans tried to cram into the 34,600-capacity stadium

An Ivory Coast football official has been sent to jail for six months for printing fake tickets for a match marred by a deadly stadium stampede.

Albert Kacou Anzouan, head of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) match organising committee, was also fined $1,000 for manslaughter and fraud.

Twenty people died and more than 130 fans were injured at an Abidjan stadium before a World Cup qualifier in March.

Thousands of "parallel" tickets were printed, the state prosecutor said.

Faustin Aka, responsible for printing the tickets, was also given the same sentence.

Star attraction

The state prosecutor primarily blamed the deaths on fans without tickets who forced their way into the stadium.

A reported 36,000 fans tried to cram into the Houphouet-Boigny stadium, which has a capacity for 34,600, to see Ivory Coast beat Malawi 5-0.

The match's big attraction was home-grown football star Didier Drogba, who plays for English Premiership club Chelsea.

Ivorian striker Didier Drogba celebrates a goal against Malawi on 29 March 2009
The big attraction at the game was home-grown hero Didier Drogba

The BBC's John James in Abidjan says in the crush to get into the stadium, the gates gave way and the football fans tumbled down the steep steps that lie directly behind the doors.

Our reporter says Anzouan was also found guilty of theft by the correctional court.

The state prosecutor had called for a one-year sentence, reports the AFP news agency.

Two other people from a sub-contractor involved in the printing of tickets were given three-month suspended sentences.

FIF Director General Ardjouma Kone was found not guilty, along with chief accountant Andoh Beugre and three others, AFP reports.

Three members of the police and security forces will be judged by another court, our reporter says.

On Wednesday, football's world governing body Fifa fined the FIF $47,000 following the enquiry into the stadium tragedy.

It imposed a series of safety measures and also announced a donation of $96,000 to a fund set up for the families of the victims.

The tragedy in Abidjan was the second such incident during qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

In June 2008, at least eight people died in a crush in Liberia as spectators jostled to get into an already overcrowded stadium in Monrovia for the match between Liberia and The Gambia.

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