Around 125 people have been died and over 180 people wounded during a football match in Malang, East Java in Indonesia, in what is now being described as one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
The loss of home team Arema FC to their bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya lead fans to grow violent and storm the pitch, attacking police officials and vehicles. The police, in response, fired tear gas into the massively overcrowded stands, which caused a surge towards the exit of the Kanjuruhan Stadium, where many suffocated to death.
42,000 tickets were reportedly sold for the match, 4,000 more than the stated stadium capacity of 38,000.
The use of tear gas by police during football matches is banned by FIFA, the world’s governing football body, which says that it should not be carried out by stewards or police. Deaths ultimately came as a result of repeated use of tear gas, as well as unprecedented violence by Arema FC football supporters, who set upon members of the police.
Meanwhile, the police chief in East Java, Nico Afinta, said, “It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars. Two police officers are among the dead. We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only around 3,000 people entered the pitch.”
As per several reports, the police fired tear gas continuously into the stands to stop the violence, which ultimately forced more people towards their deaths in the ensuring crush. 10 police vehicles were destroyed by the football hooligans.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that the crush was “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension.” The Indonesian football association (PSSI) said that it had launched an investigation, noting that the incident had “tarnished the face of Indonesian football.”
Footage circulating on social media shows lifeless bodies on the floors of the stadium as well as chaotic scenes in nearby hospitals. In response to the disaster, riots are reported to have broken out in front of police stations across the country.


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