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7 injured at Beckham event

By WANG ZHENGHUA (China Daily)

08:16, June 21, 2013

Fans surround British soccer star David Beckham during his visit to Tongji University in Shanghai on Thursday, which resulted in chaotic scenes. Seven people were injured and the rest of Beckham's schedule was canceled. (Gao Erqiang/ China Daily)

Witnesses of a stampede that occurred as up to 1,000 fans tried to get a glimpse of David Beckham at Shanghai's Tongji University on Thursday have blamed poor management and the "insanity of the crowd" for the incident.

Three police officers, two security guards and two students were injured when the former soccer star, now an ambassador for the Chinese Super League, arrived at the college as part of a weeklong China tour.

Security personnel received minor injuries when the crowd surged forward, Shanghai police said.

One of the injured students, who is from Japan, has returned to school after receiving treatment, while the other was still in a hospital for further observation.

Witnesses said the lack of measures to keep onlookers outside the college and officers' inability to direct the crowd were to blame.

"I suspect only a third of those who showed up to see Beckham were Tongji students. Many were from nearby universities," said He Chengshuang, a senior at Tongji University.

"The road outside the pitch was cordoned off, but the blocks set up on the road were only knee-high and people simply stepped over them."

Williams Kassire, a student from Chad, said the fervor of the huge crowd was scary.

"I'm a soccer fan, but I did not dare get close. There were many screams and ambulances were busy taking away those injured," he said.

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