At Least 125 Fans Confirmed Dead After Stampede at Indonesian Soccer Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 1, 2022

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 7: Generic Professional Matchballs on April 7, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus)

At least 125 fans were killed after riots broke out following an Indonesian league soccer match Saturday in Malang, East Java, according to the Associated Press.

Per The Guardian, Persebaya Surabaya earned a 3-2 victory over Arema. Arema supporters then reportedly "stormed the pitch and authorities fired tear gas, leading to a crush and cases of suffocation."

The AP provided more information, noting that witnesses said that "police beat them with sticks and shields before shooting canisters directly into the crowds." At that point, "hundreds of people ran to the exit to avoid the tear gas. In the chaos, 34 died at the stadium, including two officers, and some reports include children among the casualties."

More than 300 people were taken to local hospitals, but some died on the way and during treatment, East Java police chief Nico Afinta said Sunday during a press conference.

The Indonesian soccer federation has suspended play indefinitely in top division Liga 1 and has banned Arema "from hosting soccer matches for the remainder of the season," per the AP.

Saturday's events are part of what has been a larger problem, though. David Lipson of ABC in Australia wrote in February 2019 how at least 74 people had died in Indonesia in "football-related violence" since 1994.

Fajar Junaedi, an Indonesian professor who studies the sport, told Vice in September 2018 that he thought disorganization within the necessary governing bodies was partially to blame.

"The main factor is that the officials employ poor procedures and management," he said. "Both the organizing committee and the security officers don’t comply to the regulations. This has been a major problem for years."