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Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 15:34 UK

Ivory Coast fundraiser questioned

By John James
BBC Sport, Abidjan

The Ivory Coast's sports minister, Dagobert Banzio
Banzio says the fundraiser against Cameroon is happening too soon

The Ivory Coast's sports minister, Dagobert Banzio, has criticised plans to organise a fundraising match against Cameroon for the families of those killed in a stadium disaster in March.

He said plans for a friendly between the Elephants and the Indomitable Lions on 13 June at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, where 19 people died in a crush, were premature.

"The idea behind the match is praiseworthy, but we're still in the process of learning the lessons from the tragedy", he told the BBC.

"I think we have a duty to take the measures recommended [by the inquiries] before taking the risk of organising such a match."

He said he was worried the possible presence of big stars such as Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba, Rigobert Song and Yaya Toure in the same match could provoke similar crowd trouble.

The disaster happened when fans tried to get into the stadium for a 2010 World Cup qualifier between Ivory Coast and Malawi.

"It's clear that when you have the national teams of Ivory Coast and Cameroon at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, you shouldn't be surprised to see three times more people than we had last time," he continued.

"If we haven't learnt the lessons of the tragedy and put the recommendations in practice, I'm worried that we'll face a difficult situation."

He said it would be best to wait until the results of the current inquiries were known.

He said the judicial inquiry was at an 'advanced stage', while the audits of the stadium's security, the ticketing arrangement and technical issues were yet to start work.

A further inquiry by football's world governing body, Fifa, has also been extended for an unspecified period time.

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see also
Cameroon in Ivorian fund raiser
11 May 09 |  African
Fifa extends Ivory Coast inquiry
09 May 09 |  African
Eyewitness: Ivory Coast stampede
30 Mar 09 |  Africa

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