Trinidad investigates ticket problems

Date Published: 
The Telegraph

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association is investigating the collapse of security that allowed National Stadium to fill to 5,000 over capacity while thousands with tickets milled outside.

It appeared there were 35,000 people in the 30,000-seat stadium for the decisive World Cup qualifier, which the United States won 1-0 Sunday. There were many reports of counterfeit tickets in the week before the match and police officials believe there were 10,000 more tickets than seats.

"How on earth all these people got tickets, I can't say," acting police commissioner Jules Bernard told the Trinidad Guardian. "I don't know if they were printed abroad or in Trinidad."

Jack A. Warner, secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, said 28,500 tickets were sold for the match, which decided the 24th and final spot for the 1990 World Cup.

Gates opened at 10 a.m. and the stadium was filled by noon for the 3:30 p.m. game. Troops from the government's Defense Forces then began turning people away, even if they had tickets. Several fans were seen sneaking in by squeezing between gates.

"It was obvious that tempers flared because bona fide ticket holders were unable to get into the compound to see the match," Bernard said.

He said tickets could not be screened for fakes because fans massed at the stadium so early.