About one hundred and thirty (130) people died on Saturday due to panic at a football match in Indonesia. Most were trampled to death after tear gas was fired by the police to dispel riots. This is one of world’s deadliest sports events.
Riots started after the game ended, with hosts Arema FC losing to Persebaya Surabaya FC 2-3.
Arema supporters, known as Aremania, were disappointed after their team’s loss and caused thousands to react by throwing objects like bottles and others at the players and football officials.
Protesting fans flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch and demanded that Arema management should explain why the match will end in a loss after 23 years of undefeated home games.
INDONESIA FOOTBALL DEATH
Riot officers reacted by firing tear gas which is banned by Fifa, at football stadiums. This caused panic among the crowd.
INDONESIAN FOOTBALL DEATH
In an effort to escape the tear gas, some people suffocated while others were trampled as hundreds ran to the exit. Thirty-four (34) died at the stadium due to the chaos.
In a news conference on Sunday, East Java police chief Nico Afinta said they already took preventive actions before finally firing tear gas as (fans) started to attack the police, burning vehicles and acting anarchically.
Mr. Afinta said over 300 people were rushed to nearby hospitals, but many died on the way and during treatment.
He said many of the approximately 180 injured receiving intensive treatment at various hospitals are deteriorating; the death toll might increase.
Indonesia’s football association, PSSI, has indefinitely suspended the premier league Liga 1 because of the tragedy and banned Arema from hosting matches for the remaining season.
Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia expressed his condolences for the dead in a broadcast on Sunday.
He said he deeply regrets the tragedy and hopes this is the last soccer tragedy in the country. He further said there must be continuous maintenance of sportsmanship, humanity, and a sense of brotherhood in the Indonesian nation.
Zainudin Amali, Youth, and Sports Minister, also expressed his regret saying that the tragedy happened at a time of preparation for soccer game activities at national and international levels.
Indonesia will host the 2023 Fifa U-20 World Cup from May 20 to June 11, with 24 teams participating. As the host, Indonesia automatically qualifies for the cup.
Mr. Amali said the incident has undoubtedly injured Indonesia’s soccer image.
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