At least 125 killed in Indonesia football stadium stampede

Explained | What's behind Indonesia's deadly soccer match?

October 02, 2022 07:53 am | Updated 10:42 pm IST - JAKARTA

Security personnel (lower) on the pitch after a football match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java on October 1, 2022.

Security personnel (lower) on the pitch after a football match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java on October 1, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

More than 320 injured; police fire tear gas to quell violence on the pitch

A stampede at a soccer stadium in Indonesia killed at least 125 people and injured more than 320 after police sought to quell violence on the pitch, authorities said on Sunday, in one of the world's worst stadium disasters.

Officers fired tear gas to disperse agitated supporters of the losing home side who had invaded the pitch after the final whistle in Malang, East Java, on Saturday night, the region's police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.

Indonesia Football Stadium Riot by TH Graphics Team

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” Nico said, adding that the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.

Some local officials had put the death toll at 174, but East Java Deputy Governor Emil Dardak said the number of fatalities had subsequently been revised down to 125. The earlier figure may have included duplicate fatalities, he said.

An East Java police spokesperson said 323 people were injured, up from the initial count of 180.

Explained: What’s behind Indonesia’s deadly soccer match?

The stadium disaster appeared to be the world's worst in decades.

Video footage from local news channels showed fans streaming onto the pitch after Arema FC lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya around 10 p.m. (2030 IST), followed by scuffles, and what appeared to be clouds of tear gas and unconscious fans being carried out of the venue.

Many victims at the nearby Kanjuruhan hospital suffered from trauma, shortness of breath and a lack of oxygen due to the large number of people at the scene affected by tear gas, said paramedic Boby Prabowo.

The head of another hospital in the area told Metro TV that some victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old.

President Joko Widodo said the authorities must thoroughly evaluate security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be “the last soccer tragedy in the nation”.

Jokowi, as the President is known, ordered the Football Association of Indonesia, the PSSI, to suspend all games in the top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation had been completed.

FIFA regulations

World soccer’s governing body FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.

The East Java Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement to Reuters that the football world was in “a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia” and the event was “dark day for all involved”.

FIFA has requested a report on the incident from the PSSI, which has sent a team to Malang to investigate, PSSI secretary general Yunus Nusi told reporters.

Indonesia's human rights commission also plans to investigate security at the grounds, including the use of tear gas, its commissioner told Reuters.

“Many of our friends lost their lives because of the officers who dehumanised us,” said Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono, 22, crying as he nursed a broken arm at the local Kanjuruhan hospital. “Many lives have been wasted.”

On Sunday, mourners gathered outside the gates of the stadium to lay flowers for the victims.

Amnesty International Indonesia slammed the security measures, saying the "use of excessive force by the state to contain or control such crowds cannot be justified at all".

The country’s chief security Minister, Mahfud MD, said in an Instagram post that the stadium had been filled beyond its capacity. Some 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium designed to hold 38,000 people, he said.

Financial aid would be given to the injured and the families of victims, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa told reporters.

Strong rivalries

There have been outbreaks of trouble at matches in Indonesia before, with strong rivalries between clubs sometimes leading to violence among supporters.

Crowds pack stadiums but the football scene in Indonesia, a country with 275 million people, has been blighted by hooliganism, heavy-handed policing and mismanagement.

Zainudin Amali, Indonesia's Sports Minister, told KompasTV the Ministry would re-evaluate safety at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.

Periodic stadium disasters have horrified fans around the world. In 1964, 328 people were killed in a crush when Peru hosted Argentina at the Estadio Nacional.

In a 1989 British disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death when an overcrowded and fenced-in enclosure collapsed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.

Indonesia is scheduled to host the FIFA under-20 World Cup in May and June next year. It is also one of the three countries bidding to stage next year's Asian Cup, the continent's equivalent of the Euros, after China pulled out as hosts.

The head of the Asian Football Confederation, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, said in a statement he was “deeply shocked and saddened to hear such tragic news coming out of football-loving Indonesia”, expressing condolences for the victims, their families and friends.

Here are the latest updates:

Indonesia

Death toll from Indonesian football stampede revised down to 125: official

The death toll from a stampede at a soccer stadium in Indonesia’s East Java province has been revised down to 125, a government official said on Sunday.

East Java Deputy governor Emil Dardak said the data cross- checked from 10 hospitals in the area showed there were 125 fatalities. Earlier officials had put the figure as high as 174. 

Indonesia
Police cars wrecked in soccer riots are seen on the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022. Panic at an Indonesian soccer match Saturday left a number of people dead, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to dispel the riots.

Police cars wrecked in soccer riots are seen on the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022. Panic at an Indonesian soccer match Saturday left a number of people dead, most of whom were trampled to death after police fired tear gas to dispel the riots. | Photo Credit: AP

Violence and a deadly stampede that erupted following a domestic league soccer match Saturday night marked another tragedy in Indonesian football. Click on ‘read more’ to understand how the chaos occurred and what is being done to prevent future incidents.

Indonesia

Fatal stampede a ‘dark day’ for all involved: FIFA president

FIFA President Gianni Infantino. File

FIFA President Gianni Infantino. File | Photo Credit: AP

“The football world is in a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia at the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at the Kanjuruhan Stadium,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

“This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident,” he added. “Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured, together with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, the Asian Football Confederation, the Indonesian Football Association, and the Indonesian Football League, at this difficult time.”

Indonesia

Tear gas rules, overcapacity

A goalpost is seen after a riot and stampede following soccer matches between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia on October 2, 2022.

A goalpost is seen after a riot and stampede following soccer matches between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia on October 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

World soccer’s governing body FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.

East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.

FIFA has requested a report on the incident from Indonesia’s PSSI football association, and a PSSI team has been sent to Malang to investigate, PSSI secretary general Yunus Nusi told reporters.

Indonesia’s human rights commission also plans to investigate security at the ground, including the use of tear gas, its commissioner told Reuters.

“Many of our friends lost their lives because of the officers who dehumanised us,” said Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono, 22, crying, as he nursed a broken arm at the local Kanjuruhan hospital. “Many lives have been wasted.”— Reuters

Indonesia

Arema football club supporters, known as Aremania, put a banner on a monument outside the Kanjuruhan stadium to pay condolence to the victims, after a riot and stampede following soccer match between Arema vs Persebaya outside in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022.

| Photo Credit: Reuters

Indonesia

Amnesty International urges investigation into use of tear gas

Rights group Amnesty International urged Indonesia to investigate the use of tear gas at the stadium and ensure that those found in violations are tried in open court.

Indonesia

Indonesia incident apparently deadliest since Estadio Nacional 1964 disaster

Financial aid would be given to the injured and the families of victims, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa told reporters.

There have been outbreaks of trouble at matches in Indonesia before, with strong rivalries between clubs sometimes leading to violence among supporters.

The Malang stadium disaster appeared to be the deadliest since 1964, when 328 people were reported dead in a riot and crush when Peru hosted Argentine at the Estadio Nacional.

In an infamous 1989 British disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death when an overcrowded and fenced-in enclosure collapsed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.- Reuters

AFC

AFC head ‘deeply shocked’ by Indonesia football stampede disaster

The head of the Asian Football Confederation, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement he was “deeply shocked and saddened to hear such tragic news coming out of football-loving Indonesia”, expressing condolences for the victims, their families and friends.- Reuters

Indonesia

Fan violence, an enduring problem

Fan violence is an enduring problem in Indonesia, where deep rivalries have previously turned into deadly confrontations.

Supporters enter the field during the riot after the football match between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022.

Supporters enter the field during the riot after the football match between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are longtime rivals.

Persebaya Surabaya fans were not allowed to buy tickets for the game due to fears of violence.

However Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Mahfud MD, said organisers ignored the recommendation of authorities to hold the match in the afternoon instead of the evening.- AFP

Indonesia

Death toll rises to 174

At least 174 people have died in a fatal football stampede in the Javanese region of Malang, Deputy East Java Governor Emil Dardak told local media- Reuters

A police officer guards outside the stadium after a riot and stampede following soccer matches between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022.

A police officer guards outside the stadium after a riot and stampede following soccer matches between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

FIFA

Indonesia football association says has communicated with FIFA over fatal stampede

The International Football Federation (FIFA) has communicated with Indonesia’s football association (PSSI) following a fatal stampede at a match in Java that killed at least 129 people.

PSSI Secretary General Yunus Nusi said that FIFA had requested a report on the deadly incident that occurred in the Javanese city of Malang and a PSSI team had been sent to the site to investigate.- Reuters

Indonesia

Indonesia President orders soccer security probe after deadly riot

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday ordered authorities to thoroughly re-evaluate security at soccer matches after a riot and stampede at a stadium in East Java province killed at least 129 people.

He also told the country’s soccer association (PSSI) to stop Liga 1 matches until the investigation had been concluded, and called for this to be the “last soccer tragedy in the nation.”- Reuters

Indonesia

Indonesia Sports Minister says to re-evaluate safety after deadly riot

Indonesia’s Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said authorities would re-evaluate safety at football matches and consider not allowing spectators.

PSSI Secretary General Yunus Nusi said that FIFA had requested a report on the deadly incident that occurred in the Javanese city of Malang and a PSSI team had been sent to the site to investigate. - Reuters

Indonesia

Many dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match

People stand near a damaged car following a riot after the league BRI Liga 1 football match between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022

People stand near a damaged car following a riot after the league BRI Liga 1 football match between Arema vs Persebaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022 | Photo Credit: Reuters

Riots broke out after the game ended Saturday evening with host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city losing to Persebaya of Surabaya 3-2.

Disappointed after their team’s loss, thousands of supporters of Arema, known as “Aremania,” reacted by throwing bottles and other objects at players and soccer officials. Fans flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch in protest and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home games, this match ended in a loss, witnesses said.

The rioting spread outside the stadium where at least five police vehicles were toppled and set ablaze amid the chaos. Riot police responded by firing tear gas, including toward the stadium’s stands, causing panic among the crowd. Tear gas is banned at soccer stadiums by FIFA.

Some suffocated and others were trampled as hundreds of people ran to the exit in an effort to avoid the tear gas. In the chaos, 34 died at the stadium, including two officers, and some reports include children among the casualties.

“We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the tear gas as (fans) began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles,” said East Java Police chief Nico Afinta in a news conference early Sunday.

More than 300 were rushed to nearby hospitals to treat injuries but many died on the way and during a treatment, Afinta said.- AP

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