At least seven fans were injured during a stampede as students at a Chinese university rushed to get a glimpse of football ace David Beckham.
The retired footballer was forced to cancel his appearance after being mobbed by over-eager fans at the Shanghai Tongji University. Beckham was there to meet members of the university’s football team, but over 1,000 fans had gathered at a stadium eager to catch a glimpse of him, according to the state-run news site Xinmin Net.
Writing on their official microblog, Shanghai police said three police officers, two university security guards and two students were injured. The event was subsequently cancelled and police are investigating the incident.
Upon his arrival, fans reportedly stormed through a gate and broke through a line formed by police and guards, Xinmin said. Footage from the scene 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.”
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, 38, was at the university during his seven day visit to China as an “image ambassador” for football to promote the Chinese Super League.