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'We came close to tragedy': Pro footballer crashes car into sports hall at high speed
CCTV footage shared on social media shows the shocking moment that a footballer lost control of his car while driving at an estimated 200 km/h and crashed into a sports hall, where children were training.
Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL) footballer Sofian Kiyine caused substantial damage to the hall in Flémalle, Liège province. Miracuously, no children were hurt.
“Luckily, at the time it happened, the kids had just gone into the changing rooms,” said Fabian Pavone, alderman for sports in Flémalle, who was shocked that the car went through the building’s infrastructure.
Kiyine has been hospitalised with several fractures but in stable condition.
According to Flemish media, the professional athlete was speeding recklessly at a rate of of at least 200km/h in a 90km/h zone.
He lost control of his car, hit a roundabout, became airborne and tore a hole in the wall of the the sports hall of Flémalle.
Young basketball players in the Belgian town of Flemalle were left frightened after a car flew through the wall of their sports complex, crashing onto their court, which coach Loic Gachertz says happened only minutes after they were there pic.twitter.com/GKcHNRQEmI— Reuters (@Reuters) March 31, 2023
An investigation has been opened into the circumstances of the accident, including whether or not the 25-year-old Kiyine was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“In the footage, we can see that the driver does not even brake,” Benoît Godart, spokesperson for road safety institute Vias said.
“Roundabouts are designed to make drivers slow down, to make traffic flow more smoothly. Unfortunately, in reality, one in five accidents that occur in a roundabout is due to a loss of control, with someone taking the roundabout much too fast.
"That's what happened here. Even with a different infrastructure, at that speed, it is obvious that an accident is inevitable.”
Godart decided to make the Pro League aware of how common this type of accident is among its players.
“Not a month goes by without news that a footballer has had their licence withdrawn for speeding or drinking and driving,” Godart said.
“There are also many accidents. It is therefore in everyone's interest, and in the interest of the clubs, to make young players aware of road safety.
"In England, when a young player is given a car, he has to follow a training course and so we would like that to be the case here.
"We came close to a tragedy, and so we will contact the Pro League from next week so that they can launch road safety actions towards the clubs.”
Kiyine will be interviewed by investigators when he is able to answer questions.
Photo: Bruno Fahy/Belga