MALANG-(MaraviPost)— At least 174 people have been killed in a stampede in Indonesia’s eastern city of Malang following a chaotic run for exits from a football stadium amid riots.
The East Java Police chief Nico Afinta confirmed the news of the tragedy during a news conference on early Sunday, October 2, 2022.
Afinta disclosed that the death toll is likely to increase as at the moment, approximately 180 injured are in critical conditions and they’re currently receiving intensive treatments at various hospitals.
Riots broke out after the game ended on Saturday evening, with host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city losing to Persebaya of Surabaya 3-2, Al Jazeera reported.
The team’s loss after 23 years of undefeated home matches against rival Persebaya attracted thousands of Arema supporters, known as “Aremania,” who reacted by throwing bottles and other objects at players and football officials at the Kanjuruhan Stadium before chaos broke.
Riot police responded by firing tear gas towards the stadium stands, sparking panic among the crowd which resulted into some supporters suffocating and others trampled as hundreds ran to the exit in a bid to escape the chemical.
The Kanjuruhan Stadium has a maximum full capacity of 38,000 spectators, however about 42,000 tickets were issued for Saturday’s game.
The country’s President Joko Widodo has ordered the football association to suspend all matches in the country’s top league, BRI Liga 1, until an investigation into security at matches is wrapped up.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed his deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident.
Meanwhile, the Indonesia’s football association, PSSI, has suspended the premier football league Liga 1 indefinitely following the tragedy and banned Arema from hosting football matches for the remaining part of the season.
The death toll from the Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster has surpassed that of other global soccer disasters like the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium tragedy in Sheffield, England, which claimed at least 96 Liverpool.
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.