In what has been described as one of the worst disasters in the history of sport, security officials in Indonesia have confirmed that at least 174 people are feared dead during a stampede at a football match in the Asian country.
According to reports, the incident took place at Kanjuruhan Stadium a 42,000 capacity stadium in eastern city of Malang in Indonesia during a match between two long term rivals, Arema FC and Persebaya which ended 3-2 in favour of the visiting team, Persebaya Fc. Angry that their team lost, fans of Arema FC the host team, started protesting and the protest degenerated into a riot causing stampede that has killed many.
Police sources said that the riot led to outside the stadium where police vehicles were set ablaze and officers killed when the officers decided to use Tear gas to disperse the rioters to calm the situation.
“We have already done a preventive action before finally firing the tear gas as [fans] began to attack the police, acting anarchically and burning vehicles,” said East Java Police chief Nico Afinta in a news conference early on Sunday.
Video footage circulating on social media showed people shouting at police, who were holding riot shields and wielding batons.
Burnt vehicles, including a police truck, littered the streets outside the stadium on Sunday morning. Police said 13 vehicles in total were damaged.
President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo said he had ordered an investigation into the tragedy, a safety review into all football matches and directed the country’s football association to suspend all matches until “security improvements” were completed.
“I deeply regret this tragedy and I hope this football tragedy will be the last in our country,” Widodo said.
Deep rivalry and fans invading pitches in Indonesia is not new to the system.
A lot has been done by the football administration in the Asian country to curb the menace but it still persist.