After deadly football stampede, Indonesia wants answers

Malang, Indonesia—Dozens of Indonesian police were investigated on Monday over a stampede at a football match that killed 125 people.

Panicked spectators were crushed Saturday trying to flee an overcrowded stadium in Malang, East Java. After police fired tear gas to disperse Arema FC fans, Persebaya flooded the pitch after he lost 3–2 at home to Surabaya.

FIFA, the global governing body of football, has stipulated that no “crowd control gas” may be used in matches, and Choirul Anam, commissioner of Indonesian rights group Komnas Ham, said in a news briefing: “Probably chaotic” if no gas was fired.

The death toll at a football match was the highest since 328 died in a crash when Peru hosted Argentina in Lima in 1964.

According to police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo, nine police officers were stripped of their jobs and the local police chief was transferred.

The decision to use tear gas is one of the issues being considered, he added.

Mourners gathered outside the stadium on Monday. Among them was the club’s manager, Ali Fikri.

Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD said the government would form a fact-finding team of academics, football experts and officials to investigate what happened.

“They… are being asked to reveal the perpetrators involved in the crime in the coming days,” Mahfud said at a news conference.

Government officials said those killed Saturday included 32 minors.

President Joko Widodo has ordered the football federation to suspend all top-level matches until an investigation is completed.

Riot after soccer match
A damaged car during the riot after the BRI Liga 1 League football match between Arema and Persebaya at Kanjurhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, on October 2, 2022. (Antara Foto/Ari Bowo Sucipto via Reuters)

first match at the stadium

The scale of Saturday’s disaster left the small Java community numb.

“Neither my family nor I expected this to happen,” said Enda Wahhyuni, older sister of two boys, 15-year-old Ahmad Kahyo and 14-year-old Muhammad Farrell. their first live match.

“They loved football, but they had never seen Arema live at Kanjurhan Stadium,” she said.

The Qur’an Tempo newspaper ran a black front page on Monday, centered around the words “Our football tragedy”, printed in red with a list of the dead.

Mahud said the families of the victims will receive 50 million rupiah (about $3,300) in compensation, plus free medical treatment for hundreds of injured people.

On Sunday, spectators exceeded capacity, with 42,000 tickets sold for the match in an arena designed to hold 38,000, he said. fans have not been issued tickets.

FIFA, which called the incident “a tragedy beyond comprehension”, called on the Indonesian football authorities to make a full report.

A tearful Arema FC president Giran Widia Pramana apologized to the victims on Monday and said he was prepared to take full responsibility.

Plasto Waldyo, Stanley Widiant