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A riot and stampede at a football match has killed at least 125 people in one of the deadliest disasters in the history of football, government officials said.
In Surabaya, East Java, thousands of fans stormed the stadium, leading to a violent clash between Arema and Persebaya, police said on Sunday.
East Java police chief Nico Afinta said police fired tear gas at “anarchist” fans on the pitch, sparking a stampede in which people were trampled and suffocated to death. Among the dead were two police officers.
The crowd was made up entirely of fans of the home team Arema, who lost 3-2.
Officials said late Sunday that earlier reports that put the death toll as high as 174 had been revised to 125. At least 180 people were injured.
The disaster prompted Indonesian President Joko Widodo to suspend the country’s top game until an investigation into the sport is complete.
Gianni Infantino, president of world football’s governing body Fifa, called it “a dark day for all football-related and an incomprehensible tragedy”. My deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives in this tragic event. “
The tragedy was a devastating blow to Indonesia’s credibility as a host of internationally renowned sporting events. The country will host the Under-20 World Cup in 2023 and will bid for next year’s Asian Cup.
Human rights groups have criticised the police response, particularly the use of tear gas, which is banned by FIFA for crowd control.
“We … call on the police to revisit their policy on the use of tear gas and other ‘non-lethal weapons’ to ensure that such heartbreaking tragedies never happen again,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
Local media and videos posted online showed crowds overturning and setting police cars on fire, chasing Persebaya players and officials.
Widodo said he “regrets” the incidents and ordered a thorough investigation. “I hope this is the last tragedy for football in this country,” he added.
As many as 42,000 tickets were sold for the match at Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java, despite the stadium’s official capacity of 3.8, Indonesian Minister of Political, Legal and Security Mahford said in an Instagram post. Thousands.
The president of the Indonesian Football Association said in a statement that the association had banned Arema from hosting matches for the remainder of the season.
Sports and Youth Minister Zainudin Amali told CNN Indonesia he was coordinating with the national police and the Indonesian Football Federation to “identify the parties responsible for the disaster”. He told local media that the ministry would consider banning spectators from the stadium.