Indonesia soccer stampede stadium to be demolished: Widodo

Jakarta, Oct 18 (EFE).- The Indonesian soccer stadium that was the scene of one of the worst tragedies in the history of the sport when a stampede killed more than 130 people early this month is to be demolished and rebuilt, the country’s president announced on Tuesday.


“For Kanjuruhan Stadium in (the city of) Malang… we will demolish and rebuild it according to FIFA standards,” Joko Widodo told reporters.


He added that it will have “good facilities, ensuring the safety of spectators and players.”


The announcement came after Widodo held a meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in which both promised to work to improve security in the country’s stadiums.

Camera: EFE/EPA


“We owe it to them that when they go to see a match they are safe and secure,” Infantino told reporters in Jakarta.


“We will do that because we agreed to work together as a team, as a winning team,” he added.


Infantino said FIFA and the Indonesian government would focus on improving the operations of the stadiums, fan behavior and engagement as well as the stadiums themselves.


“The infrastructure needs to be looked into as well because part of incidents that can happen is linked of course with the state of the infrastructure,” the football association’s president, who expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, said.


The National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia, responsible for investigating possible human rights violations by the state, said last week there are indications of abuses by security forces during the incident.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (L) receives a shirt from President of Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Gianni Infantino after their join press conference at Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, 18 October 2022. EFE/EPA/ADI WEDA


“The trigger for the fall of many victims was the tear gas, especially those launched against the stands,” one of the commissioners of the entity, Choirul Anam, told a press conference.


The stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java on Oct. 1 caused the death of at least 132 people and left more than 460 injured, after fans invaded the field and clashed with security forces who launched tear gas to control the crowd.


The use of tear gas in soccer stadiums is prohibited by FIFA rules.


The initial conclusions of the commission also confirm the hypothesis of authorities that the stadium had exceeded its maximum capacity.


At the time of the tragedy, there were 42,516 spectators inside the stadium built for 38,054.


They also ruled out the suspicion that the exit doors were closed at the time of the tragedy, although findings indicate they were only “partially” open, which led to crowds and panic among the public.


After the incident, Widodo opened an investigation to find those responsible for the tragedy and evaluate the controversial actions of the police.


So far, a dozen officers have been suspended, including the police chief of Malang, while another 20 are under scrutiny. EFE


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