Costs of Mabhida fan rampage revealed

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A horde of supporters got violent and destructive at the final whistle of the Nedbank Cup last-four tie in Durban. They assaulted security guards, ripped out and torched seats, and smashed broadcasting equipment as well a few cars in the parking lot.

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They also vandalised goalposts, fencing, crowd management barriers, bins, water points, tables and chairs among other items in the vicinity.

A medical report stated that 18 people were injured, with six being admitted to hospital and later discharged.

So far only two people have been arrested.

Despite the carnage, the stadium was still able to honour a booking on Sunday.

“We are grateful, taking it from the horse's mouth, that there was no loss of life and those who were admitted to hospital were later discharged,” eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said at a press conference at the venue on Wednesday.

“After the events of the weekend, we requested the management of the stadium to compile detailed reports, which is what we are presenting to you today. We received a report detailing the damages and also a medical report about those who were injured, including one of the stadium employees [Richard Zikhali], who suffered minor injuries.”

Stadiums in Europe's top football leagues often use barricades to prevent pitch invasions, but Mabhida Stadium general manager Vusi Mazibuko explained why this is not the case at this ground.

“Let me first clarify something here, the security guard that was being kicked is not a female but a male,” Mazibuko stated.

“The first part of it is that it is easy to invade the stadium. However, there are three reasons why it is easy to invade this pitch; the first reason, ironically, is for the safety of the spectators, because the design of the stadium allows for the pitch to be an assembly point in the event there was to be an incident... that’s why it is designed like that.

“The second reason, it is meant for enhancing the spectators' experience. Thirdly, this stadium, as the mayor has said, is not a football stadium, but it is multi-purpose stadium.

“Can you imagine if we have a cage kind-of-a-thing as you have elsewhere and then you have athletics and you have runners, and they run in an environment like that.

“However, as I said, this is the time maybe to accept that the public that we serve deserves something different in terms of design.

“Because, even if you were to put up a barrier, that barrier must be collapsible in the event of an incident. Because if it is not collapsible more people might die in the event of a stampede.

“So those are the issues we need to consider going forward, learning from the incident.”