At the beginning, there was talk of 174 deaths. However, the victims were counted multiple times, said the region’s deputy governor, Emir Dardak, after comparing data from 10 hospitals.
Meanwhile, authorities put the number of injured at 323 on Sunday. Most of them would have been run over or trampled in the stadium. Police chief Nico Afinta said Arema FC fans stormed the pitch on Saturday night outraged by their team’s defeat. Security forces used tear gas to control the situation. This led to a mass panic in which several people who pushed for the exit were suffocated.
The tragedy is the worst in world football for more than half a century. In 1964, 328 people died in a stampede during a match between Peru and Argentina.
In the first division match, Arema FC lost the match against Persebaya Surabaya by 2:3. After the final whistle, the situation at the stadium in East Java became “anarchic”, police chief Afinta explained. Fans attacked authorities and damaged cars. There was then a crowd as fans fled for an exit.
used tear gas
Video recordings from local TV stations show how many people run onto the field and punches ensue. There is fog in the air, which appears to be tear gas. Larger police vehicles with broken windows lie on their sides at the edge of the field, and smoke is rising from one of the vehicles. The footage also shows people who have apparently lost consciousness and are being carried away by helpers.
The head of a local hospital told Metro TV that some of the victims suffered brain injuries. A five-year-old child was among the dead. Authorities initially spoke of 127 dead, but the number continued to rise.
Indonesian Security Minister Mahfud MD wrote on Telegram that the stadium was filled to capacity. 42,000 tickets were sold, but the stadium was only allowed for 38,000 visitors. East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa said the injured and the victims’ families can expect financial assistance.
There have been repeated riots and violence between fans of various clubs at games in Indonesia in the past. Sports Minister Zainudin Amali told broadcaster KompasTV after the accident that he would re-evaluate the safety of football matches and also consider not allowing spectators in stadiums for the time being. President Joko Widodo said authorities should thoroughly check security at the games. He hopes this was “the last football tragedy in this country”. Wikodo ordered the Indonesian Football Association to suspend all top division matches pending investigation.
Amnesty International has criticized Indonesia for the excessive use of force by the state. This is in no way justified to contain such accumulations.
The world football association Fifa requested a report on the accident from the Indonesian football association. FIFA rules stipulate that stewards and police may not carry or use firearms or tear gas in stadiums. East Java Police did not initially respond to a request to know if they were aware of such regulations.
The football clubs Arema and Persebaya expressed their condolences to the victims and their families. “Arema FC expresses its sincere condolences for the disaster in Kanjuruhan. The management of Arema FC is also responsible for dealing with the victims, both dead and injured,” said club president Abdul Haris. The club will create a crisis center and an information center for victims. “To the families of the victims, the management of Arema FC sincerely apologizes and is ready to make amends. The management is ready to accept any proposal to deal with the disaster so that many can be saved,” said Haris.
The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has suspended play in the top flight for a week. Arema were banned from playing at home for the remainder of the season. In addition, the association set up an investigation team that was supposed to start work on Sunday. “PSSI regrets the actions of Aremania fans at Kanjuruhan Stadium. We apologize and apologize to the families of the victims and everyone involved in the incident,” said federation president Mochamad Iriawan. The police will be supported in the investigation.
Indonesia is known as a football mad country. While there is a lack of international success, there is always riots and violence surrounding the games. In 2018, a supporter was killed by a crowd of supporters from a rival club. Indonesia will host the FIFA U-20 World Cup from 20 May to 11 June 2023, with 24 teams participating. As a host, the country automatically qualifies for the cup. The country has also applied to host the 2023 Asian Cup, the equivalent of the European Football Championship.
Affected by the disaster showed Pope Francis. “I also pray for those who lost their lives and were injured in the clashes after a football game in Malang, Indonesia,” the head of the Catholic Church said after praying the Angelus to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on Sunday.
With great dismay too President Gianni Infantino of the governing body of world football FIFA reacted. “The world of football is in shock after the tragic events,” the 52-year-old Swiss said in a FIFA statement on Sunday. “This is a dark day for everyone involved in football and a tragedy beyond imagination.”
“He expresses his deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” said Infantino. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin also expressed “our profound shock and sadness on behalf of European football”. He assured all those affected “sympathy and solidarity”.