SAN SALVADOR: El Salvador football authorities have canceled the remainder of the national championship because of safety concerns, after a stampede at a game killed 12.

“This measure has been taken in this way in response to the seriousness of the events and the need to guarantee the safety conditions of the sports venues,“ the Salvadoran football federation (Fesfut) and Liga Mayor clubs said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We have decided to terminate the 2022-2023 national championship of El Salvador,“ the parties said in the joint statement, with Fesfut separately adding that “there will be no champion.”

The competition had only reached the first leg of the quarterfinals.

Twelve people died and hundreds were injured in a crush at first-division Alianza's stadium on Saturday. It was thought to have begun when a gate fell at the stadium in the capital San Salvador.

In addition to the dead, about 500 people were treated for various injuries at the scene, while 88 were hospitalized. Most have since been discharged.

Fesfut said all parties were committed to ensuring “better protocols” for securing the safety of fans in the future.

But a group called Jugadores Unido (Players United) urged the federation to reconsider, citing the “large number of people” who economically depend on the football matches.

The football federation on Tuesday ordered Alianza to play its home matches behind closed doors for a year, blaming the club for the incident at its Cuscatlan stadium.

Alianza must also pay a fine of $30,000 before July 21. - AFP