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Newswire

July 22, 1989

The death toll in a 1982 soccer match accident in Moscow was not 340 people as a newspaper reported, but 66, a Soviet investigator said.

A. Shpeyrom of the Moscow prosecutor's office was quoted in the government daily Izvestia as saying that many other elements in recent reports about the accident on Oct. 20, 1982, also were incorrect.

Sovietsky Sport, the newspaper of the government's Sports Committee, reported July 9 that police pushed spectators down an icy staircase at Lenin Stadium, creating a "human mincer" that killed 340.

The newspaper accused authorities of covering up the case, which would have been the worst soccer stadium disaster in history.

Shpeyrom said, however, that police did not push anyone, that more than one exit was open and that there was no ice or snow on the stairs. He said 66 were killed and 61 injured.

The biggest loss of life previously reported at a soccer match was on May 24, 1964, when rioting left nearly 300 dead in Lima, Peru, in a game between Argentina and Peru.

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