World Cup organisers sought to distance themselves on Monday from a stampede outside a warm-up friendly that injured 16 people and raised new security fears in the final countdown to the tournament.
FIFA, which is due to give its verdict later on Monday on the state of readiness of the stadiums, tried to wash its hands over the crush at Sunday's match in a township near Johannesburg where Nigeria were playing North Korea.
The stampede was triggered mostly by Nigeria supporters, holding what police said were photocopies of tickets, trying to push their way into the 10,000-seater Makhulong stadium after the game had started, a Reuters witness said.
The incident in the build-up to the game came just hours after South African President Jacob Zuma and FIFA chief Sepp Blatter announced that everything was ready for the tournament - the first World Cup to be played on African soil.
"It would seem that there was some confusion among the crowd as to the ticketing system which led to disruptive behavior on the part of the crowd," said a police statement.
"One police official was seriously wounded when he was trampled by the crowd, one police official was slightly injured but remained on duty and the emergency medical services reported that 14 spectators were transported to hospital with minor injuries. The police official is in a stable condition."
The 14 spectators were treated at the nearby Tebisa hospital while the injured officer was taken to another at Kempton Park.
Speaking at the ground, police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Opperman said that 8,000 free tickets had been distributed ahead of the match but other fans who were without tickets had tried to push their way in.
Opperman said that it appeared that the behaviour of some of the fans had been fuelled by alcohol.
"It is the weekend and a time when many people consume liquor," he said.
The crush happened around an hour before kick-off although news filtered through only after the match had started. At one stage, the game was halted for around five minutes but there was no announcement for the reason and the players remained on the pitch.
The game continued under a heavy police presence with Nigeria winning 3-1.