129 people dead after Indonesia soccer match stampede

At least 129 people were killed and around 180 injured at a soccer match in Indonesia after a crowd stampede during a riot, police said on Sunday, in what appears to be one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

After the match in East Java province between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended on Saturday night, supporters from the losing team invaded the pitch and police had fired tear gas, triggering a stampede and cases of suffocation, East Java police chief Nico Afinta told reporters.

Video footage from local news channels showed people rushing onto the pitch in the stadium in Malang and images of body bags.

There have been previous outbreaks of trouble at matches in Indonesia, with a strong rivalry between clubs sometimes leading to violence among supporters.

Zainudin Amali, Indonesia’s sports minister, told KompasTV the ministry would re-evaluate safety at football matches, including considering not allowing spectators in stadiums.

The Indonesian top league BRI Liga 1 has suspended games for a week following the match that Persebaya won 3-2 and an investigation had been launched, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) said.

Among global stadium disasters, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death in Britain in April 1989, when an overcrowded and fenced-in enclosure collapsed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.

Indonesia is to host the FIFA under-20 World Cup in May and June next year. They are also one of three countries bidding to stage next year’s Asian Cup, the continent’s equivalent of the Euros, after China pulled out as hosts.

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