The stadium tragedy exposed the troubled history of Indonesian football

The stadium tragedy exposed the troubled history of Indonesian football

Winning the right to host next year’s U-20 World Cup was a major step forward in Indonesia’s football development and raised hopes that a successful tournament would solve long-standing problems affecting the country of 277 million people. It has damaged the sport.

The death of at least 125 people in a league match between hosts Arima FC and Persabaya Surabaya in Malang, East Java on Tuesday is a sad reminder, however, that Indonesia is one of the most dangerous countries to participate in the games. .

“Remember that the FIFA U-20 World Cup will be a global spectacle as 24 countries from five continents will participate in the tournament,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said last month. Emphasized thorough preparation for the tournament.

Since Saturday, the domestic league has been suspended. Widodo has ordered the sports minister, the national police chief and the football federation to conduct a full investigation into the deadly stadium crash.

Indonesia was the first Asian team to play in the World Cup – taking part as the Netherlands East Indies in 1938 – but despite an undeniably national passion for the sport, it has been plagued by years of corruption, Never returned to the international stage due to violence and mismanagement.

According to the data of Save Our Soccer, Indonesia’s football watchdog, 78 people have been killed in incidents related to the game in the past 28 years.

The accused are often associated with support groups that themselves are linked to the clubs, with hundreds of thousands of members.

Arima’s tough rivalry with Surabaya meant that no visiting fans were allowed in the stadium at the weekend. Violence erupted after the home team lost 3-2 and around 42,000 Arima fans, known as “Arimania”, threw bottles and other objects at players and football officials.

Bans on visiting fans have also failed in the past. In 2016, despite Persib Bandung supporters being banned from a match against fierce rivals Parasija Jakarta, they were blamed for the death of a Jakarta supporter.

A month ago, a Parasib fan was beaten to death by Jakarta supporters.

In 2018, local media reported the seventh death in six years related to Indonesia’s biggest soccer competition.

Soccer fans have accused security officials of heavy-handedness in the past and over the weekend, with witnesses saying officers beat them with batons and shields before firing tear gas canisters directly into the crowd. In 2016, police were accused of killing 16-year-old supporter Mohamed Fahriza during a match between Parsija and Persila Lamongan, which led to widespread protests calling for an end to police brutality.

Soccer analyst Akmal Merhali told Indonesian media on Sunday that “the police who were in charge of security violated FIFA’s stadium safety and security regulations,” by using tear gas on Malang fans. Pointing to enter the arena after their team’s defeat. Rush to the exit in the crowded stadium.

“The Indonesian Football Association may have been negligent for not informing the police that security procedures at a football match are not the same as at a demonstration.”

FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, advises against the use of tear gas in stadiums.

The Football Association, known locally as PSSI, has long struggled domestically to govern the game.

In 2007, Nuruddin Hald was sentenced to prison for corruption, but he remained as the head of the agency until 2011. After Khalid was barred from running for another term, a rival league, federation and national team were formed.

But the chaotic administration continued until FIFA suspended Indonesia in 2015, a ban that was lifted the following year.

In 2019, when FIFA awarded Indonesia the right to host the 20th World Cup, it was seen as a vote of confidence.

In June, a FIFA panel inspected the country’s soccer facilities and plans for the May 20-June 11 tournament and announced its approval.

“We are very pleased to see the preparations in Indonesia. We have had an encouraging visit and are confident of the support from all parties involved,” said Roberto Grassi, FIFA Youth Tournament Director.

Kanjurohan Stadium, the site of Saturday’s disaster, is not among the six venues listed for the U20 World Cup, although the nearby Surabaya Stadium is slated to host the games.

FIFA has yet to comment on any potential impact on the U20 World Cup but the weekend tragedy is likely to damage Indonesia’s bid to host the 2023 Asian Cup. It is competing with South Korea and Qatar to host the continental championship in May after China relinquished its right to stage.

Indonesia has hosted the tournament before, sharing the competition with Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam in 2007 and hosting the final in Jakarta, where Iraq beat Saudi Arabia for the title.

This was the last time Indonesia hosted a major international football tournament. It is expected that the Asian Football Confederation will announce its decision on the 2023 tournament on October 17.

It is unlikely that any football has ever been played before as people in Indonesia and football fans around the world agree on the deadliest disaster in a sporting event.

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