MALANG-Locked stadium doors were a key reason why an Indonesian soccer riot turned so deadly, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday, ordering an urgent review of safety in stadiums and suggesting that the sports governing body Fifacould help fix some issues.
The problem is with locked doors and stairs that were too steep, the president, commonly known as Jokowi, said during a visit to Malang wherehe met victims families and inspected the stadium.
Hundreds of fans were crushed on Saturday in one of the worlds worst soccer disasters, as they fled an overpacked stadium in the town of Malang, after police fired tear gas to disperse supporters of the losing side who flooded the pitch.
Thestampede killed at least 131people in one of the deadliest disasters in football history.
The presidentgreeted relatives of the victims after arriving at the Saiful Anwar hospital in the East Javan city.
He then visitedthe Kanjuruhan stadium, the scene of the disaster.
After his visit to the hospital, Mr Widodo said he wanted “to make sure that those who are treated at this hospital get the best service”.
“I told the victims… to keep their spirits up and get well soon so they can return to their activities,” he said, adding that all treatment costs would be borne by the government.
Earlier, Mr Widodo also handed compensation to the families of dead victims.
The president vowed to get to the root cause of the tragedy, adding that a fact-finding team has been formed to look into the incident. The team will be led by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD.
Mr Widodo said he would order an audit of all football stadiums.
I want to know the root of the problem that caused this tragedy so that we can get the best solution, he told reporters outside Saiful Anwar Hospital. I will order the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry to audit all stadiums used for the (football) league.
The Indonesian leader’s visit came as anger grew over police officers’ response to a pitch invasion after fans of Arema FC tried to approach players following their defeat to fierce rivals Persebaya Surabaya. Embed Facebook Facebook
Tiba di Malang, Jawa Timur siang ini dan langsung menuju RSUD dr. Saiful Anwar untuk menjenguk korban luka dari tragedi…Posted by Presiden Joko Widodo on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 Police described the incident as a riot and said two officers were killed, but survivors accused them of overreacting.
“On Monday night, I spoke via phone with Fifa president Gianni Infantino. We spoke at length about the Kanjuruhan (stadium) tragedy in Malang and the Fifa U-20. But any decision is the prerogative of Fifa,” Mr Widodo said earlier.
Indonesia is due to host the 2023 FifaU-20 World Cup from May 20 to June 11, with 24 participating teams. As the host, the country automatically qualifies for the cup.
Officers responded to Saturday’s pitch invasion with force, kicking and hitting fans with batons, according to witnesses and video footage, pushing fans back into the stands where many would be trampled or suffocate to death after tear gas was fired. SPH Brightcove Video Shortly after the match in East Java province between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended on Saturday night, supporters from Arema, the losing team invaded the pitch to express their frustration, police said. In response to the tragedy, Mr Widodo ordered all matches suspended, an investigation into what happened and compensation for victims.
Indonesia’s chief security minister said a task force had been created and that the probe would take two to three weeks.
Police said the investigation was focusing on six gates at the stadium using CCTV footage from cameras placed outside them. It said the exits were open but too small for the crowds attempting to pass through them.
The Malang police chief was replaced on Monday, nine officers were suspended and 19 others were put under investigation over the disaster in the stadium, according to police. REUTERS, AFP Remote video URL More On This Topic 'I pulled my brother from under a pile of people': Indonesia's stadium stampede survivor Indonesia stadium disaster: Tear gas review, better crowd management needed say experts