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Report faults Bingu National Stadium design

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Report of the task force on the Bingu National Stadium (BNS) stampede has faulted the design of the Chinese Government-funded facility.

The task force, which President Peter Mutharika instituted soon after the stampede, presented the report to him on Tuesday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

“The task force finds that while the BNS is a state of the art sports facility, the access control is a major weakness. Single filing at the main gates would have averted the disaster. There are only two gates used for the stadium with its capacity of 40,000 people and no smaller gates to promote single filling,” reads part of the report.

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“The task force also found that there are no exits on the eastern and southern sides of the stadium, thus creating pressure on the two main gates. There are no turnstiles at the BNS but only queuing rails. The presence of turnstiles would have precluded use of tickets to control the number of people entering the stadium.”

The report has recommended that the government should consider constructing a ring-road around the stadium to facilitate easy access and speed up evacuation during emergencies.

Turnstiles should also be installed at the facility to preclude the use of tickets as means of controlling the number of people entering the stadium.

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It has also cited poor decision making of police, sports department officials and stadium officials management skills.

Among others, the report has also cited poor planning and poor coordination among stakeholders.

“Some members of the Department of Sports displayed an air of self-importance which made them boss-over BNS staff, some of whom were actually their seniors. This attitude of self-importance and bossing-over arose from a senseless feeling that coming from the ministry’s headquarters made them superior to BNS staff,” reads part of the report.

Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development officials were not readily available for a comment.

The stampede killed eight people—including seven— and 62 people were left injured hours before a friendly match involving Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers. Bullets won the game 2-1.

In view of the stampede, world football governing body, Fifa has sent consultants Peter Welymes and Rick Riding to inspect the Lilongwe facility.

The consultants are also expected to inspect Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

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