Stampede over Beckham injures 7 in Shanghai
BEIJING (AP) — Fans eager to see soccer superstar David Beckham stormed a police cordon Thursday in a stampede at a Shanghai university that injured seven people including five security personnel.
Three police officers, two university security guards and two students — including a Japanese student — were injured, Shanghai police said on its official microblog.
Nearly 1,000 fans had gathered at a stadium in Shanghai Tongji University, where the retired star was to meet members of the university team, according to the state-run news site Xinmin Net.
Upon Beckham’s arrival, fans stormed through a gate and broke through a line formed by police and guards, Xinmin said. Photos and video footage show people pushed onto the ground, shoes scattered and a uniformed woman being carried away — her face covered in blood.
“Too crazy,” said Chu Dan, a Tongji University soccer player who was hoping to have “some interaction on the pitch” with Beckham. “But we didn’t expect so many people showing up here — too many fans of Beckham.”
The event was canceled, and Shanghai police said they were investigating the incident.
A post on Beckham’s microblog on the popular Chinese-language platform Sina Weibo wishes the injured speedy recoveries and expresses regret for the cancellation. “It was impossible to get through the massive crowds,” it reads.
Beckham is in China this week on a seven-day promotional tour for the Chinese Super League, China’s top league. He has been hired as an “image ambassador” to promote the sport.