Around 125 people died during a stampede at Kanjuruhan football stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. The horrific event unfolded after home team Arema FC lost to their rivals Persebaya Surabaya. When fans invaded the football pitch after the BRI Liga 1 match, police began tear gassing them. This eventually forced thousands of panicked fans to swarm towards the stadium exits. The result was one of the worst stadium disasters to hit the sporting world. At least 32 children were also reportedly killed in the tragedy.
President Joko Widodo ordered all matches in the league to be stopped until the matter is investigated. Indonesia has now set up an idnependent team to look into the disaster. FIFA’s safety regulations clearly say that authorities should not use “crowd control gas” during matches.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” BBC quoted Nico Afinta, police chief in East Java. “We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch.” Of the people who lost their lives, two were police officers as well.
Fans “went out to one point at the exit,” BBC quoted Chief Afinta. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen.”
Footage shared online shows fans climbing fences, scrambling for the exits as authorities struggle to control the stampede. According to Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD, the stadium was overcrowded with 42,000 tickets sold, crossing its capacity of 38,000 spectators.
This is probably the worst tragedy in football history. It’s being reported around 127 dead, nearly 200 injured in a football stadium in Indonesia pic.twitter.com/ZP83QeU5rz
— Eric Njiru (@EricNjiiru) October 2, 2022
Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, said in a statement, “This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident.”
Teams across the world observed minutes of silence before their matches in memory of those who lost their lives in the incident.
⚫🇮🇩 The Santiago Bernabéu held a minute’s silence before kick-off in memory of those who died in the tragedy at the Kanjuruhan stadium, on the island of Java (Indonesia).#RealMadrid pic.twitter.com/rF5PwOCWLS
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) October 2, 2022
Several football teams and players also came forward to express their grief and offer condolences.
Manchester United is deeply saddened by the tragedy in Malang, Indonesia.
We send our sincere condolences to the victims, their families, and everyone affected.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 2, 2022
🇮🇩 Heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. 🙏 #Indonesia ❤️
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) October 2, 2022