Thousands of Indonesian football fans carry candles during vigil for the 125 killed during horrific soccer riot after hooligans sparked scenes of anarchy by storming the pitch when their side lost
- The death toll has risen to 125 people after a violent riot broke out after the match on the main island of Java
- Arema FC lost at home 3-2 to rivals Persebaya Surabaya in Indonesian league causing fans to invade the pitch
- Baton-wielding riot police confronted the riots by firing tear gas at the crowds on the field and in the stands
- At least 300 fans were rushed to hospital but many died travelling to the medical centres or during treatment
- It is already among the world’s worst crowd disasters making it one of the world’s deadliest sporting events
- Fans have gathered outside the gates of the stadium to lay flowers in tribute to the victims this evening
Thousands of Indonesian football fans have carried candles during a vigil paying tribute to 125 people killed during a horrific riot when hooligans sparked scenes of chaos when they stormed the pitch after their team lost.
More than 320 people were also injured after hosts Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city losing to Persebaya Surabaya FC 3-2 yesterday evening.
The loss resulted in hundreds of Arema supporters, known as ‘Aremania’, invading the pitch throwing bottles and other objects at players and football officials.
Fans flooded the Kanjuruhan Stadium pitch in protest and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home games, this match ended in a loss, witnesses said.
Amid the on-field violence, baton-wielding riot police immediately took to the pitch, firing tear gas both on the field and into the stands as the fans retreated.
Harrowing footage shows fans scaling fences as they try to escape the smoke, which did not dissipate, with some falling to the ground and losing consciousness and being trampled under a stampede.
Mourners today gathered outside the gates of the stadium to lay flowers for the victims, before people burned candles in a vigil at a lion statue, the local club’s symbol.
Hundreds have also attended a candle-lit vigil in the capital Jakarta this evening, carrying placards that read ‘Indonesian soccer in mourning’ and ‘stop police brutality’.
Financial aid would be given to the injured and the families of victims, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa has said.
Football supporters gather and pray and light candles as a tribute to the victims of the riots in a soccer match at the Jatidiri Stadium
At least 125 people have died following a riot that broke out at an Indonesian football game. Horrific footage shows Artema fans flooding the pitch following the BRI Liga 1 match as Arema FC lost at home 3-2 to local rivals Persebaya Surabaya on the main island of Java
Police and fans carry an injured man out of Kanjuruham Stadium in Malang, East Java. More than 300 people were rushed to hospital but many died on route or during treatment
Security officers detain a fan during a clash between supporters of two Indonesian soccer teams at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang
Arema’s stadium is located in the east if Java in the town of Kepanjen, 50 miles from rivals Persebaya Surabaya to the north
Police officers had fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the agitated supporters, the region’s police chief Nico Afinta said.
He added that ‘It had gotten anarchic’ and the fans had ‘started attacking officers, they damaged cars’.
World football’s governing body FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or ‘crowd control gas’ should be carried or used by stewards or police.
East Java police did not respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of the regulations against using gas in stadiums.
The stadium disaster appears to be the world’s worst in decades. Wiyanto Wijoyo, the head of Malang’s health agency, put the final death toll at 125, and injuries at 323.
Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono, 22, cried as he nursed a broken arm at the local Kanjuruhan hospital, saying: ‘Many of our friends lost their lives because of the officers who dehumanised us. Many lives have been wasted.’
Many victims at the nearby Kanjuruhan hospital suffered from trauma, shortness of breath and a lack of oxygen due to the large number of people at the scene affected by the gas, said hospital head Bobi Prabowo.
Bobi told Metro TV that some victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old.
Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo said authorities must thoroughly evaluate security at matches, adding that he hoped this would be ‘the last soccer tragedy in the nation’.
Jokowi, as the president is known, has ordered the Football Association of Indonesia, PSSI, to suspend all games in the top league BRI Liga 1 until an investigation had been completed.
Inside the stadium tonight, a burned chair still lay unattended while slippers and shoes were strewn haphazardly. A damaged police car was also towed outside in a clean-up.
At a funeral of two brothers, age 14 and 15, in Malang who had been attending a soccer match for the first time, their relative Endah Wahyuni said ‘my family and I didn’t think it would turn out like this’, adding that they were ‘quiet and obedient’.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino today said that the football world was in ‘a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia’ and the event was ‘dark day for all involved’.
The governing body has requested a report on the incident from PSSI, which has sent a team to Malang to investigate.
The Premier League and football clubs from across the UK, including Leeds United, Manchester City and Arsenal, have all paid tribute to those who lost their lives last night.
The rioting spread outside the stadium where at least five police vehicles were overturned and set on fire amid the chaos
Baton-wielding riot police officers run onto the pitch to disperse the crowds while spraying tear gas
Football fans help a young girl escape from the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, after riots broke out following the match
The world’s deadliest sporting events:
The Estadio Nacional Disaster 1964: Known as the deadliest stadium disaster in the world, 328 people died and around 500 people were injured seriously following a football match between Peru and Argentina
The Hillsborough Disaster 1989: A total of 97 Liverpool fans were killed as a result of the deadly crush at Hillsborough. The tragic incident took place during Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. It is the deadliest sporting tragedy to take place in Britain
Guatemala and Costa Rica Stampede 1996: During the World Cup Qualifying match in Guatemala City against Costa Rica, 84 people were killed during a stampede of fans. More than 100 people were killed after approximately 60,000 fans entered the stadium which only had the capacity of 45,000
Accra Stadium Disaster 2001: 126 football fans died at Accra Sports Stadium in Ghana after police tear-gassed a section of the stands. The police sprayed the gas after fans started throwing objects onto the pitch and ripping out stadium seats to throw at opposing fans. The match was against the country’s two biggest teams, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko
Mr Afinta said the death toll is likely to increase because many of the approximately 180 injured who are receiving intensive treatment at various hospitals are deteriorating.
According to the local police chief of Malang, Ferli Hidayat, there were 42,000 spectators at Saturday’s game, all of whom were Aremanias because the organizer had banned Persebaya fans from entering the stadium in an effort to avoid brawls.
Further disturbing footage appears to show rows of bodies turned blue in the hallways of a nearby hospital.
Local reports says that hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of dead and injured being brought in. Further riots broke out outside the stadium as tensions boiled over among supporters, with cars set on fire and bricks hurled at passing vehicles.
Television reports showed police and rescuers evacuating the injured and carrying the dead to ambulances.
Grieving relatives waited for information about their loved ones at Malang’s Saiful Anwar General Hospital. Others tried to identify the bodies laid out at a morgue.
Last night’s riot is already among the world’s worst crowd disasters, including the 1996 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City where more than 80 died and some 100 others were injured.
In April 2001, more than 40 people were crushed to death during a football match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his deep condolences for the dead in televised comments on Sunday.
He said: ‘I deeply regret this tragedy and I hope this is the last soccer tragedy in this country.
‘Don’t let another human tragedy like this happen in the future.
‘We must continue to maintain sportsmanship, humanity and a sense of brotherhood of the Indonesian nation.’
Despite Indonesia’s lack of international accolades in the sport, hooliganism is rife in the soccer-obsessed country where fanaticism often ends in violence, as in the 2018 death of a Persija Jakarta supporter who was killed by a mob of hardcore fans of rival club Persib Bandung in 2018.
Riots after the match outside the stadium kicked off as tensions boiled over following the pitch invasion
Crowds of youths throw rocks at passing vehicles as rioting took hold in the streets outside the stadium
The Arema fans were enraged by their late loss to great rivals Persebaya and the police action that followed the pitch invasion
The hotly contested Super East Java Derby had been a thrilling match, with Arema pegging Persebaya back after falling 2-0 behind on Saturday night.
But the heroic comeback was not to be, as Arema conceded a late goal to lose the match, sending their fans into a rage.
The riot led to images of police cars burnt out on the pitch once order had finally be restored within the ground.
Akhmad Hadian Lukita, the president of PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB), has said: ‘We are concerned and deeply regret this incident. We share our condolences and hopefully this will be a valuable lesson for all of us.’
Meanwhile, victorious Persebaya’s official Twitter account posted on Saturday evening: ‘Persebaya’s extended family deeply mourns the loss of life after the Arema FC vs Persebaya match. No single life is worth football. We pray for the victims and may the families left behind be given strength.’
The Indonesian football association PSSI has suspected all league matches for one week following the tragedy, while Arema will not be permitted to host any more home matches for the rest of the season.
Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali also expressed his regret that ‘this tragedy happened when we were preparing for soccer game activities, both national and international level’.
Indonesia is due to host the 2023 Fifa U-20 World Cup from May 20 to June 11, with 24 participating teams. As the host, the country automatically qualifies for the cup.
He added: ‘Unfortunately, this incident has certainly injured our soccer image.’
The Premier League and clubs across the UK this morning paid tribute to those killed yesterday.
The Premier League and football clubs from across the UK have paid tribute to the people who died at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Indonesia yesterday following post-match riots
Manchester United, Leeds United, Arsenal and Manchester City are among those who started tributes.
The Premier League said: ‘The thoughts of everyone at the Premier League are with those affected by the tragic events at Kanjuruhan Stadium last night.’
Manchester United added: ‘Manchester United is deeply saddened by the tragedy in Malang, Indonesia.
‘We send out sincere condolences to the victims, their families and everyone affected.’
What was behind the deadly Indonesian football match tragedy?
How did the chaos occur?
Chaos broke out after Persebaya Surabaya defeated rivals Arema Malang 3-2 in Saturday night’s match in East Java’s Malang city.
Police said there were some 42,000 spectators in the stadium, all of whom were Arema supporters because organisers had banned Persebaya fans in an effort to avoid brawls.
But a disappointing loss by Arema – the first match lost to Persebaya at their home stadium – prompted angry spectators to pour on to the field after the match to demand answers.
Fans threw bottles and other objects at players and officials, and rioting spread outside the stadium, where at least five police cars were overturned and set on fire, and others damaged.
Riot police responded with tear gas, which is banned at football stadiums by Fifa. But it sparked panic.
Hundreds of spectators rushed to an exit gate to avoid the tear gas, resulting in a stampede in which 34 people were trampled to death or suffocated almost instantly, with many more deaths to follow due to injuries.
How many people died?
In what appeared to be one of the worst sports disasters, police said at least 174 people died, including children and two police officers, most of whom were trampled to death.
More than 100 others were injured.
Police said the death toll is likely to rise with multiple people in a critical condition.
Data from an Indonesian football watchdog organisation, Save Our Soccer, said that since 1995 at least 86 Indonesian fans have died in connection with supporting their club during a match, most of them because of fights between fans.
The riots and stampede on Saturday will be added to the long list of events where fans have died supporting their club.
Police officers fire tear gas as fans invade the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. It is believed 174 people have died – but the toll could rise. It is one of the deadliest sporting events ever to have occurred
Why does football engender violence?
Football is the most popular sport in Indonesia and the domestic league is widely followed.
Fans are strongly attached to their clubs, and such fanaticism often ends in violence and hooliganism. But riots between supporters usually happen outside the stadium.
The most well-known feud is between Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung. Supporters of the two clubs have clashed in several matches that led to deaths. In 2018, a Persija Jakarta supporter was beaten to death by Persib Bandung rivals.
Indonesian football has also been beset with trouble on the international stage.
Brawls broke out between supporters of arch-rivals Indonesia and Malaysia in 2019 during qualifying matches for this year’s Fifa World Cup.
In September that year, Malaysian fans were threatened and pelted with projectiles at a World Cup qualifier in Jakarta, and Malaysia’s visiting sports minister had to be evacuated from the stadium after violence broke out.
Two months later, fans hurled flares and bottles at each other in another match in Kuala Lumpur.
Also in 2019, after losing in the finals of the U-22 match to Vietnam in the Southeast Asian Games, Indonesian fans took to social media to insult, harass, and send death threats to Vietnamese players and even their families.
In June, two Persib Bandung fans died while jostling to enter the stadium in Bandung to watch the 2022 President’s Cup. The angry supporters became aggressive because the officers on the field did not allow them to enter the already-full stadium.
What is the Indonesian government doing about it?
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has expressed his deepest regret and ordered a thorough investigation into the case.
He has also ordered the premier football league be suspended until a re-evaluation of match safety has been carried out and tighter security put in place.
Mr Widodo said he hopes ‘this tragedy will be the last tragedy of football in Indonesia’.
Indonesia’s football association has also banned Arema from hosting matches for the remainder of the season.
Rights group Amnesty International urged Indonesia to investigate the use of tear gas at the stadium and ensure that those found in violation are tried in open court.
Baton-wielding police officers detain a fan during the post-match riot
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