Crowds shy away as Chiefs and Pirates return to action

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2001, 12:00am

Johannesburg: Both clubs involved in last week's Ellis Park stadium disaster returned to action but drew paltry crowds - in stark contrast to the 75,000 who tried to see them play each other on the night of the tragedy which claimed 43 lives. Only 2,000 spectators watched the Kaizer Chiefs' delayed African Cup Winners' Cup tie at Soccer City in Johannesburg, while a crowd of no more than 500 saw Orlando Pirates lose a vital league match played in Springs, east of Johannesburg.

Last Wednesday, an estimated 75,000 spectators tried to squeeze into Ellis Park for the derby between the two most popular teams, leading to the deaths and injuries to a further 160. The disaster drew strong criticism from FIFA, which criticised match arrangements and said its rules for stadium security were not adhered to.