Was standard operating procedure overlooked here to cause this mishap?
On the 8th of February during the year 1981 a terrible incident happened in Neo Faliro, Piraeus in Greece at the famous Karaiskakis Stadium named after the legendary war hero of the Greek War of Independence-George Karaiskakis. This stadium is also the home to the soccer outfit Olympiacos FC the most successful club in Greece. AEK is one another great team based out in the Greek capital with which Olympiacos FC locked horns on that fateful day.
On this eventful day Olympiacos FC drubbed AEK by a huge margin 6-0 sending the home side fans to a tizzy and ecstatic celebrations began inside the stadium. When it was expected that all this euphoria round this crazy celebration was about to evaporate disaster struck the fans in the stadium leading to one of the biggest tragedies in Greece’s football history. Post the final whistle blow, the excited fans of Olympiacos FC rushed through various exit gates available inside the stadium. Historic Gate 7 of the stadium was set to unfold a gruesome accident that would change the stadium’s outlook for ever. The gate 7 was partially closed meaning that the fans on the bottom steps close to gate were hesitant and pushed over by the solid mass from behind leading to a dozen going down and being engulfed by the moving crowd. This tumultuous move was finally sorted out and when things were finally sorted 21 people became victims and more than 50 were seriously injured. Most of the injured were teenagers or young adults whose extreme passion for the game also brought about extreme sorrow.
What was the real issue here, was it an accident that just about happened or could certain things better have been in place to avert it? Perhaps this where a standard operating procedure could have played its part in averting this tragedy within the stadium:
What does the standard operating procedure advocate here?
As per the SOP document prescribed by FIFA we now have these aspects to be covered,
• The emergency exit gates shall have one door that must be least 2 metres wide and in a colour different from their surroundings and easily identifiable. When the spectators are inside the stadium premises, all the emergency exits shall be staffed at all times and not secured by any locks.”
• Ensure to have all entry and exit points, including all emergency exit points and routes; remain unobstructed at all those times when the match happens in a stadium.
• Also have adequate number of stewards or police officers at both the entry or exit points in spectator sections to facilitate smoother people flow.
So going by the mentioned expectations laid out in the SOP document prescribed by FIFA and what was actually the state on that particular day we can clearly come to a conclusion that the standard operating procedure manual prescribed steps were not adhered leading to a loss of precious lives and a black day in the history of Greece’s soccer that every year even today thousands gather inside the Karaiskakis Stadium for memorial service singing the song “Brothers you still live..”