Fans eager to see soccer superstar David Beckham stormed a police cordon on 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.
The former England captain intended to visit the campus and coach some young football players but the organisers underestimated just how much excitement his visit would cause.
Thousands of fans and students gathered at the football field of the campus, hours before he was due to arrive, in anticipation of catching a glimpse of their hero.
Upon Beckham’s arrival, fans stormed through a gate and broke through a line formed by police and guards.
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.
The event was cancelled, 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 said.
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.
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