FIFA, the head of football’s international governing body, has cited football’s mourning over Saturday’s stadium crush at an Indonesian league football match, calling the incident, which killed at least 125 people, a “dark day” and “an unbelievable tragedy.” ” designated.
More than 300 people have been injured in one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters, according to Indonesian authorities amid fears the death toll could rise.
“I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.
“Joined with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured, along with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, Asian Football Confederation, Indonesia Football Confederation and Indonesia Football League at this difficult time,” he said he.
Supporters of Arema FC and rivals Persebaya Surbaya, two of Indonesia’s biggest football teams, clashed in the stands after home team Arema FC were defeated 3-2 at a match in the east Java city of Malang, police said.
Supporters of the losing team then “invaded” the field and police fired tear gas, causing a crowd of fans that led to asphyxiation, East Java Police Chief Nico Afinta said during a news conference after the event.
Two police officers were also among the dead, the police chief said, adding that the crowding started as fans fled to an exit gate.
Football clubs around the world commemorate those killed.
Spain’s La Liga announced in a statement that a minute’s silence would be held at the five games scheduled for Sunday and Monday, as well as the ten games scheduled for the following week, while many English Premier League clubs held their own tributes to the victims of the disaster tweeted .
Among them was Liverpool FC, who suffered tragedy in 1989 when 96 of their fans died at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
“We are deeply saddened by the events at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia. The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with everyone affected at this time,” Liverpool said tweeted.
“We are deeply saddened to learn about the events in Malang at Kanjuruhan Stadium Indonesia today. Along with everyone who finds a connection through football, our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy,” said English club Arsenal tweeted.
Meanwhile, Gilang Widya Pramana, president of hosting team Arema FC, apologized in a statement on the club’s website.
“As President of Arema FC, I apologize to all Malang residents affected by this incident. I am very concerned and I strongly condemn the riots at Kanjuruhan Stadium that have left more than a hundred people dead,” he said.
“I feel deep sorrow and condolences for the Aremania who fell victim to the Kanjuruhan disaster. I hope the bereaved will be encouraged,” he added.
Gilang said he has instructed Arema FC management to coordinate with the health center treating the victims and expressed his full support for the ongoing police investigation.
“We also fully support the investigation being conducted by the police and ask the parties to exercise restraint until a clear point of the problem is found,” he said.
The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) suspended all matches next week, barring Arema FC from hosting matches for the remainder of the season.
Indonesia will host the FIFA U20 World Cup next year and is bidding for the 2023 Asian Cup.
Asian Football Confederation President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement: “I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear such tragic news from football-loving Indonesia, and on behalf of the AFC and the Asian football family, I send ours to the families and friends of the victims my heartfelt condolences as we extend our wishes for a speedy recovery to the fans injured in the incident and support the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and clubs.”
“The thoughts and prayers of the Asian football family are with the Indonesian football family at this very difficult moment,” he added.
Located in East Java, Kanjuruhan Stadium is primarily used for football matches, with its full capacity estimated at 38,000 spectators.
However, 42,000 tickets have been issued for Saturday’s game, according to ministry officials.
“We were expecting the (big) numbers and suggested holding the game in the afternoon instead, but it went ahead in the evening,” Indonesian Security Minister Mahfud MD said in a post shared on his official social media accounts.
He added that the stadium had been “filled beyond its maximum capacity”.
“Our proposals were not fulfilled. I would also like to emphasize that the fans were on the Arema FC field.”
Problems have arisen at matches in Indonesia before, with intense rivalry between clubs sometimes leading to violence among fans.
“All sports clubs[in Indonesia]that compete between cities are always intense,” Indonesian football analyst Dex Glenniza told CNN, who noted that Arema and Persebaya fans are “prohibited” from closing each other’s stadiums to visit.
“(This is) to avoid friction and clashes between supporters,” he said. “But there are still many incidents between fans, most of them off the pitch.”